The Queen dies: lessons beyond palliative care
On 8 September 2022, I recall switching on the television in the afternoon and being greeted by the headline ‘The Queen dies’, with her portrait on the TV screen. This message was clear, short and succinct-there was no mistaking what had happened. Having been critical of the use of euphemisms in the past, and their potential to distort the reality of death, the message by the broadcasters was poignant and most welcome. It was direct and honest communication to the nation and the world at large. Normally, euphemisms are considered substitutes to convey an indirect meaning to minimise the harshness of what has happened. They are thought to remove the bluntness of the message conveyed when something unpleasant has happened (such as a death). However, while the intention in the use of euphemisms is understandable, they often distort the reality of death.
Although the death of the Queen was not a total surprise, due to reports of her reduced mobility and feeling fatigue, resulting in her having to either miss or cancel events or ask her family members to represent her, it was indeed sad to realise that, after 70 years of her reign, she was no longer going to be with us anymore. The Queen had been a constant in our lives, and perhaps the human mind expected her to be there forever. Hence, for many, her death brought a mixture of sadness and celebration of a life well-lived with dedication to duty.
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