Death and Dying

Not explicitly about Kübler-Ross. In the 1990s, I enjoyed listening to the stories of a cantadora—keeper of the stories—, Clarissa Pinkola Estes and her Theatre of the Imagination. Many inspirational stories. That I deem psychology as a pseudoscience does not mean that it serves no purpose. It runs aground where they interpret metaphor for the actual—the symbol for the object. There is a lot to glean from symbols as representations, and one can even apply them to their lives, but never conflate the map for the terrain.

I loved Baba Yaga, but the one I am reminded of today regards candles as measures of life remaining. In this story, a person on a deathbed pleads with Death.

Death explains that the candles represent peoples’ lives and their life force.

Some are tall and burning brightly whilst others are on the verge of being snuffed out

The Dying assumes that all the tall and bright candles must represent young children and that the ones with almost no wax and wick to burn are the elderly.

Death explains:

Some children have very short candles.

And some of the very tall and very bright ones are very old people.

‘Look, here is yours’, Death tells him.

The Dying is directed to one of the dimmest, most pathetic, struggling-for-its-last-few-moments-of-burning-candle in all the land.

He understands.

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