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To find the use of 'passed' instead of died irritating?

(213 Posts)
PECS Thu 02-Aug-18 15:55:49

I see the use of passed or passing in place of died or death is increasing. I find it an odd turn of phrase and quite irritating. I wondered when we became so afraid to use death / died/ dead?

Lazigirl Thu 02-Aug-18 17:08:49

May be Annie but I do think death is a bit of a taboo subject in our culture, hence the growth of "death cafes" where people can discuss openly.

Anniebach Thu 02-Aug-18 17:38:11

I have only just realised, when I post I refer to ‘when my daughter died’. But when having to tell people I have always said C took her own life last November , wonder why this is , can it me ‘my daughter died ‘ because I don’t speak of her by name , but when speaking her name I don’t say she has died , passed or passed away . Only now have I realised this.

Grandma70s Thu 02-Aug-18 17:57:29

I think it’s just that some people find talking of death or dying too direct, so they prefer a euphemism. They find it comforting.

I have never once used, or even thought of using a euphemism when I refer to my husband’s death . I say he died. I prefer to be direct, but not everyone does.

PECS Thu 02-Aug-18 18:01:39

just to clarify..I am not offended by the term 'passed' I just find the use of the euphemism in the media irritating. How each of us expresses our own losses is entirely up to us.

grannyactivist Thu 02-Aug-18 18:30:20

I'm in the process of writing a funeral service that I'll be taking in a couple of weeks and I just checked my notes; I use the words 'died' and 'death' except for when I describe sitting with the person as she 'left this life behind'.
I don't care what words people say, but I do wish we talked more about death and, in a sense, prepared for it better. (No, nothing can really prepare for the death of a loved one in emotional terms, but practically we can address certain aspects.) I've never been to one, but I do approve of the concept of 'Death Cafés' - although I suspect they appeal to people who already have an open approach to the subject. The whole subject can be fraught with difficulties that could be made easier if only people talked about it more.

Anniebach Thu 02-Aug-18 18:45:17

What goes on in a death cafe? Do they drink coffee and repeat death over and over, or discuss what coffins they want or perhaps share photographs of corpses . I really don’t understand why people want to meet and talk about death over a coffee.

cornergran Thu 02-Aug-18 18:47:35

Couldn’t agree more ga. When I worked with bereaved people I always used their language out of respect. Often we would acknowledge at some point how hard it was to openly talk about death and how unprepared most of us are to manage death as a part of life. I grew up in a family where death was openly discussed and I can recall being told many times not to be afraid of it. I tried to have the same approach with our children. Friends often thought and said this was wrong. We agreed to differ. The opportunity to talk and hear others viewpoints can only be good,

MissAdventure Thu 02-Aug-18 18:53:31

I think it is inbuilt fear, regardless of how much we now know, and for how many years we may have researched it.
Its fear of the unknown, and everyone has a tiny trickle of fear at something we personally haven't encountered head on.

PECS Thu 02-Aug-18 18:59:55

In my father's family death was not taboo. Too many bereavements resulting from many different causes. It was traditional to have the body with the family at home for a set period of mourning when friends and family came to talk about the person, drink bitter coffee and bring food for the family & pray.
In mum's family there were set rituals e.g. closing of curtains, armbands etc. but little was said. Perhaps because I found the 'talking' mourning better for me, rather than the quiet approach, that it makes me less comfortable with euphemisms. Who knows!

grannyactivist Thu 02-Aug-18 19:04:44

I haven't been to one (yet) Annie, so I can only go by what I've read or heard from someone who has, but it seems there are opportunities for some really thought provoking discussions. I'll put a couple of links below so you can judge for yourself:

MissAdventure Thu 02-Aug-18 19:07:03

I watched a programme about Papua, where they smoke their lived ones bodies, sit them in chairs, then carry them into the hills.
Every year they have a bit of a 'do' and they fetch them all down and spend the evening feasting, with the loved ones at the tables too.
They do any repairs which need doing, then carry their departed back into the hills.

grannyactivist Thu 02-Aug-18 19:10:06

Oh my gosh MissA - I think that'd be taking things a tad too far for me! shock

MissAdventure Thu 02-Aug-18 19:12:15

It was fascinating viewing..
Its all just so alien to us.

PECS Thu 02-Aug-18 19:13:23

That is an interesting custom. It sounds as if it has parallels with the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico.

grumppa Thu 02-Aug-18 19:15:27

I recently read of a survey someone had done which showed that most people whose death was advertised in The Times were described as having died, while in The Daily Telegraph they had passed away.

I'm with The Times on this.

MissAdventure Thu 02-Aug-18 19:17:01

It may even have been Mexico, my memory isn't as good as I'd like, so I just fill in the bits I can't remember with a guess word.

MissAdventure Thu 02-Aug-18 19:20:15

My local paper had a headline a couple of weeks ago about someone "getting their angel wings".

Anniebach Thu 02-Aug-18 19:27:55

Thank you Grannyactivist , such a pity these people can’t discuss this with their families

Baggs Thu 02-Aug-18 19:41:47

I prefer 'died' to 'passed' or 'passed away'. I feel there is something more succinct and exact about 'died'.

However, I suppose the word 'pass' comes from the Latin word for a step. You could regard death as a step into the unknown, or the known for those with faith in an afterlife.

MissAdventure Thu 02-Aug-18 19:45:08

So passed away literally means that a person has stepped away..
That's a nice thought.

Lazigirl Thu 02-Aug-18 19:52:43

Thank you for the Guardian link grannyactivist. Very informative and if there was one locally I'd really be keen to go and I don't think it's at all morbid. We shall all pass away, die or get our "Angel wings" sometime. I do think it's a subject many find difficulty in discussing with their families Annie.

Baggs Thu 02-Aug-18 19:58:41

I think so too, missadventure. That idea has somewhat reconciled me to the use of "passed away".

Day6 Thu 02-Aug-18 20:02:04

My lovely Salvation Army friend talks of her husband as "gone to glory" which I think is lovely. I tend to say 'died' and have noticed the American (?) 'passed' misplacing the more common 'passed away.'

It's a sensitive subject but dead is dead and I can handle the word. I appreciate others can't, or prefer to use others.

annsixty Thu 02-Aug-18 20:02:55

Died for me , it says it all.
Many years ago we had a neighbour who we all knew was very ill, she would have been in her 40's. Early one morning my mother saw her H walking by. She went out and asked" how is Doris?"
He pointed to the sky and said, "she has gone upstairs"
My mother carried on the conversation thinking she had taken to her bed.
No, she had died, my mother was so distressed, humiliated and embarrassed,
Euphemism can be misleading and very upsetting.

Melanieeastanglia Thu 02-Aug-18 20:19:34

I guess it's personal preference. Instinctively, I tend to use the word "died" but I have a couple of friends who I know say "passed away" so, when people dear to them have died, I have used the phrase "passed away".

Language changes through the years.

Poor annsixty's mother. It must have been awful at the time for her but I can see how the mistake arose.