They Didn’t Die Instagram
The U.S. is a largely death-phobic culture, evident in our “clean it up fast and don’t show me” death proceedings mentality, our long-time obsession with embalming (avoiding the dead-look), and our rampant use of euphemisms for “died.” It turns out that taking a landscape view at death euphemisms and metaphors offers an intriguing look into the different ways we experience and communicate about death.
We recently came across the highly entertaining TheyDidntDie Instagram which is a remarkable collection of 450 obituary-highlights expressing the event of “dying” in different roundabout ways. The entire collection is a fascinating study of how we talk about death ranging from respectful and solemn, to humourous, to over-the-top… missed-the-mark…metaphors. It showcases the typical “they passed away” to the obscure “they shagged into heaven.”
There are dueling viewpoints on the effect of death euphemisms on the psyche as outlined in this essay by Michael C. Kearl.
Kearl explains, “Some scholars argue that our circumlocutions should be understood as evidence of death denial, as should such colorful expressions as “buying the farm,” “pushing up daisies,” or “kicking the bucket.” On the other hand, euphemism has a long tradition of use when dealing with the topic of death, and the use of metaphor is often inevitable when trying to explain certain facets of the human condition, particularly death.”
To better understand the TheyDidntDie Instagram as an informal sociological study, we first have to acknowledge that obituaries are a bizarre phenomenon. The goals are to announce the death publicly, inform readers, commemorate the deceased, communicate their unique qualities, and make it personal and heartfelt… packed into just 200 words (3-5 sentences). This is a terrifying task even for a professional writer. Additionally, obits are commonly written by amateur writers and are likely the only piece of published writing they will ever produce in their lifetime. These amateur writers expose a beautiful struggle to express themselves in a foreign medium (written word) and the result is generally poor writing that is oozing with authenticity, grief, pride, and struggle – beautiful.
To get entertaining daily obituary euphemisms for “died” follow TheyDidntDie Instagram and enjoy some of our favorites below.
Do you think expressing “Died” through euphemisms is a positive or destructive practice for grieving individuals? Let us know in the comments!
Justin Crowe is the founder at Lifeware, a company offering high quality cremation jewelry and ceramics made with ashes. Click here to request a free retail product sample. https://cremationdesigns.com/lifeware-retail-kit-cd