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Margaret Thatcher’s death: Dance if you wanna dance, cry if you wanna cry.


Well here is something new – I meant to write a blog…and the Guardian bet me to it!

The article in question (here it is if you want to read it) talks about all the outrage around the celebrations of Maggie Thatcher’s death.
It states: “This demand for respectful silence in the wake of a public figure’s death is not just misguided but dangerous. That one should not speak ill of the dead is arguably appropriate when a private person dies, but it is wildly inappropriate for the death of a controversial public figure, particularly one who wielded significant influence and political power.”

I absolutely agree but I take that further and say that is misguided not just for public figures, but for ANYONE.

How Western Society deals with death is generally not great. Not even close to great. We have been highly conditioned around what we are meant to do and feel and every day I work with the repercussions of this.
Just now I have written back to a woman who wrote to me around a death in her life to check that she is not a ‘heartless freak’ – her words. I get emails like this almost every day now

Why? Because of two things that I can see clearly going on in this whole Maggie debacle.

One: because we have been taught that is not ok to feel everything around death even though any and all emotions can go on all the way across the spectrum. We have learnt it is appropriate only to feel sadness and regret around death…and that anything else is wrong and disrespectful. This is absurd and damaging. Because there are ALWAYS other feelings going on in there and the guilt and fear people go through about these ‘inappropriate’ emotions end up causing so much pain and stress and getting lumped in with ‘grief’ and often never dealt with.

Two: this whole ridiculous idea of not speaking ill of the dead. Do you want to be remembered as you really are? (the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly) or would you prefer people block out memories of you they see as negative (which are parts of you that are being blocked out here) to invent a new angelic looking version of you that they can think on for years to come – a person who actually has little to do with you at all sometimes. We all want to be loved as we are – and part of this is that the bad bits are seen, and not hidden. You are seen by the world as good and bad. You are seen by those who love you best and know your secrets as good and bad. The idea of not speaking ill of the dead does nothing but suggest some of you deserves to be blocked out – that some stuff about you is not worthy of love. Which is seriously off.
I want to be remembered as I am – and if some of that stuff is seen as ‘ill’ or hate worthy then so be it…because that is me too.

If we got rid of these misguided ideas about what is ‘respectful’ and were allowed to be totally honest around all of our feelings around death and everything we know and think about those who have died….it would change people’s experience of death more than I can put into words. I would be halfway out of a job.

EVERY emotion is ok to feel around a death – whether you feel the saddest you ever have…or the happiest you ever have.
Speak TRUTHFULLY of the dead – respect them enough to do that – and if you’re truth is ‘ill’ then so be it.

So, by all means, if you think it’s fab that Maggie died and you want to shout it from the rooftops…then go for gold. Or if you want to curl up in a ball and break down….then go for it. I don’t have an opinion either way (I’m not even vaguely political – my dad would turn in his grave to call me a dummy) but I totally support your right to do either. Or both.