The term Death Midwife strikes the tone of being both sexist and purely decadent; relishing the idea of being cradled in a woman’s arms while dying. The concept is not likely politically correct; but could it be morally correct? Similar to a birth midwife, a death midwife nurtures and guides delivery from life to death. A death midwife naturally provides a hands-on approach to dying, theoretically, making the process more indulgent and less clinical. In biblical terms, death midwives are comparable to the Galilean women who prepared Jesus’ body for burial, “They took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices.” (John 19:40)
In the fast-paced ER, a corpse is placed in a body bag with a toe tag. The perceived failure of a person dying in the hospital becomes mitigated by shoving the body into the morgue. In the presence of a death midwife, those dying become exulted through being pampered and respected; creating a paradigm shift for people transitioning from life to death. There is a curious contradiction within people who do not deserve to die and ultimately experience the detriment of not dying. Remaining open to being loved to death would actually be a refreshing change.
Women are built to be receptive; while men tend to be assertive. Following a man’s lead, people are encouraged to fight until the bitter end. In WISHES TO DIE FOR, I suggest crossing a contrived finish line before death. This would create a distinction between a time to live and a time to die. Making time to die is not an option available to people who do not accept death. Becoming receptive to any of life’s challenges involves practice, creates awareness and leads to openness. This budding process of receptivity redefines the end of life as a flowering experience.
While flowering is not gender specific, it does connote a feminine attribute. Men possess a similar capacity to blossom, but often tend to hesitate in letting their guard down. Ironically, the means to a good death might actually occur in specifically letting the guard down; becoming both more receptive and accepting of death. A death midwife provides an example of someone who truly embraces death. It is a higher calling from which to bathe a consciousness of tender loving care that can provide for a good death. Women generally have a knack for this; men may require remedial work on breeding receptivity into life passages.