Not one for beating about the bush Fran Taffel gave her daughter Jacqui clear instructions to call her death for what it would be: she had died. Not passed away, not resting in peace, not joining the choir invisible, plain and to the point, died, dead.
Jacqui Taffel writes in “I’m sorry for your loss” (SMH, Good Weekend, 19.09.2020) that she ‘dreads these five words.’ She says: ‘… they sound like the kind of bloodless corporate-speak that has colonised our everyday language.’
Says Taffel: ‘She hasn’t passed, or passed on, or gone to a better place. She is not lost; we know exactly where she is. Under a cameillia bush at the house she and Dad built and shared for more than 50 years of their 60 years together.’ And later: ‘I see her wielding a red pen, firmly crossing out “for” and “loss” and offering a simple solution for those who baulk at the D-word.’
The point of this article is to encourage us: ‘to call a spade a spade, like Harry Potter speaking Voldemort’s name out loud: “I’m so sorry your mum died.”‘
Euphemisms have their place but Taffel doesn’t think they serve much of a purpose when it comes to dying and the ending known as death. She writes: ‘So please, on her behalf [that is her mum Fran Taffel], no euphemisms or platitudes. No resting, or passing, no losing. No shuffling off this mortal coil or joining the bleedin’ choir invisible. Her name is Sue Taffel, and she is dead. Thank you, my dear mother, and goodbye.’
And so say all of us. The full story is here: No more euphemisms. My mother died.