Why You Must Talk About Death

Aayushi Iyer
Advice to Younger Self
5 min readJan 31, 2021

And how it will change your perspective of a life well lived

Photo by Veit Hammer on Unsplash

When someone leaves us in death, in the end, all that remains is void. A void that is expected to be filled or erased with time. The absence of a loved one makes us feel the pain of loss. I used to think that losing someone you love is the worst thing that can happen to you. But, far worse is the absence. The void that is left behind is worse. No matter what you do in life, no matter who you are, how much money you have, who you fall in love with, that void, never really goes away.

With every waking minute, every human being walks closer to a certain end. One that ceases all logic and truth. We live through each day believing that tomorrow is a certainty. In reality, tomorrow is only a bonus, over which we have no right. We hope for a tomorrow, we go to bed thinking that another day shall be given to us. With another day shall come another opportunity to be better and to love more. But aren’t we all just lying to ourselves? Postponing spending time with a loved one, or getting into silly arguments is what we end up doing. Later, when time passes by us, we realize how we could’ve given up on ego and made use of the time at hand.

We don’t talk about death. We don’t want to. It’s bizarre even thinking about what would it be like if someone we love passes away. Therefore, death is never a part of our conversation. When it happens suddenly, we are not ready for it! We least expect it. Eventually, we never know how to deal with the aftermath of someone passing away.

Death is Inevitable

To come to terms with the ultimate reality of life is not easy. Most of us face loss with denial and don’t want to accept death. We skip thinking about it, thinking about the person who passed away, thus giving up the chance to live the memory. At any point in life, there is an ardent need to understand and accept death as the ultimate reality of life. It will not only put things into perspective but also allow you to focus on the things that matter daily.

Every human being ever born on this planet, every human being that will ever take birth shall face the same reality. Death is one such illusionary reality that questions the existence of a being. What matters is whether that existence is worthwhile. The passage of life lived, was it well lived, was it successful in terms of the personal embodiment of that being? That is what matters most. Then, two questions can be raised in terms of death.

1. What does your death mean to those around you?

2. What does the death of somebody you love mean to you?

When we talk about our own death, we think of everything we might want to accomplish before we die. We think about the change we want to bring about in the world, and how we can leave it a better place. Death is singular to us. But, what about the people that love us? Remember the famous quote by Keanu Reeves?


Talk about your death to people you love. How would they feel if you weren’t there anymore? It’s an important contemplation that none of us want to get involved in. But, wouldn’t talking about it change the way you spend the time that you’re alive? To make the best use of the time you’ve been given. To live each day with a sense of purpose.

It’s profound. It’s more a fact than a realization. Time is not ticking away. Our lives are. Somehow, that changes the way I see the world around me. How I want to live my life, how I choose to spend it, who I surround myself with, in my journey.

Once we understand that our lives are ticking away, we would spend every moment most profoundly.

Let’s talk about the second question. When somebody we love dies, we don’t know what to do. How to reminisce their memories, how to grieve their loss. Sometimes, we end up giving up the emotion completely. We are in denial of that loss. Moreover, the one emotion that shakes us is regret. We regret not having spent enough time, not having confessed our feelings, or not having apologized to that person. We regret saying things that we must’ve and we regret not saying out loud that we loved them enough.

How can talk about death change that? Imagine the person you love in those last moments. What would you change about the way you behave? What would you tell that person? You would certainly want to live every moment completely fully aware of each others’ being. To be loved in the space you share is what you’ll do if you knew how precious your shared lives are.

“If death meant just leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character…Would you slow down? Or speed up?”

– Chuck Palahniuk

What would I do today if it was my last?

This is one question that I ask myself every day. It drives me to be a better human. Be kinder than I was yesterday, be more hardworking than I was yesterday, and eventually, be more loving than I was yesterday. This question alone can change the way you see your life and those around you. It can drive you to do what’s important in the big scheme of things.

“Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.”

– Buddha

When we talk about death, another topic comes to mind. It’s fear of death. Truth is, we don’t actually fear death. We fear dying. The pain and suffering that comes along with it. That is where palliative care comes in. Easing the suffering that leads to the end. But that’s for another day.

Final Thoughts

Talk about death. Your own or somebody else’s. Contemplate the ways you can change how you live based on the acceptance of the ultimate truth of life. Death is one thing we share as a species. Let this truth guide you towards a life better lived, and better served.



Aayushi Iyer
Advice to Younger Self

Writing about Self Improvement, Mindfulness and Philosophy