Death’s Summer Coat: The Natural Death Handbook

Brandy L. Schillace – Author of Death’s Summer Coat

Dr. Brandy Schillace, PhD, writes at the intersections of medicine, history, and literature. In her blog, she gives insight to her perspective on death:

I was not afraid of death, for I had not been taught to fear it. Free from the cultural underpinnings I’ve since come to know, I thought of death as a universal truth. Everything, my grandmother said. Everything dies. I would brush against death many times on my way to adulthood; I would be taken to every wake and every funeral. I don’t remember weeping. But I remember green grass, the smell of wet earth, and blue bells: Death, wearing his summer coat. 

In our modern age, however, wherein death and disease are hidden away or sanitized by palliative care, discussions of mortality and mourning have become strangely taboo.

In many ways, the natural death movement attempts to recapture this sense of death’s place in our lives and culture.

The Natural Death Centre, the charity behind The Natural Death Handbook, exists to help re-open the dialogue about life’s end, offering a combination of practical advice, how-tos, go-tos, and reflections that inspire, comfort and challenge. At the heart of the movement is a commitment to death as a natural part of life.

No longer conceived of as a terror, death is refigured as the winding down of life’s frantic clock — and dying as a means of coming to terms with our identities, our loved ones, ourselves. 

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