A shroud in the XXIth century
Reader, maybe your emotivity is fragile for now and you're not ready to read everything here. Take your time.
In western society the topic of death frightens, we don't want to face it.
When a death occurs, after the announcement comes a stunning shock of death, then a time of grieving. Paying respect to the suffering of the families, the preparation of the dead body is made by the nursing staff, or by mortician's assistants.
In fact most of the time it is a paramedical task or a professional task made in the business of funeral rites. Family members and those close to the deceased person are pushed aside.
Let's take a step further and let's dwell for a moment on the ancestral practise of dressing the dead, the purpose of which should be considered in greater depth.
By this funeral rite this is, for us, the core in human rituals. Haven’t we yet lost the spiritual meaning of it?
This original way of realizing consciously an act, of being personally involved in a gesture that is ritualised helps to transform … here … a very deep emotion and a heart-rending separation into acceptation of the death.
Do we better manage with the sorrows of the mourning by asking funeral directors to assign tasks such as dressing (in garments usually suitable for daily wear) without any participation to it, not even a glance?
So by avoiding our meeting with the death, can we see the reality of it? the suffering? its still unknown consequences?
Besides choosing clothes, and sometimes having to get them far from the place of death ,making the dressing of the dead are factors making the pain worse for the relatives and acquaintances who are not prepared .
The deceased is sometimes without any known family and there is nothing to dress the body in a dignified manner.
That said, how sad and strange, what an irony it is to look at the body of the dead dressed, and with shoes on, lying on a sheet ...
In fact, the bed sheet or linteolum , is a piece of fabric similar to a sheet in which one wraps a corpse .It was once traditionally made of linen , hence its name. In the Middle Ages, the dead were buried sewn in their shroud, that is to say, the sheet of their bed linen because, before the Middle Ages and until the Renaissance, only the richest and high-ranking people were buried in their finest garb in a coffin or a sarcophagus .
Can’t we find back the symbolic values of a ritual dressing in order to bring back a sacred dimension to an emotional, personal and intimate dimension -too often a trivialized moment?
It is essential to help families and staff during these painful times when the necessity of the silence, the meditation, the last look should not be hindered by material constraints
The essential motivation is to embellish death, to defuse the potential drama of the situation and at the same time to face it.
Nowadays this practical and specific shroud can be a way towards acceptance of our own death as well as that of others with our involvement in the choice of a shroud, accepting it for our death clothing and so initiating a real dialogue with our family and relatives, by sharing our feelings.
Why do we remain silent by habit ,for fear of sharing our thoughts about death , for fear of not knowing what to say while simplicity, frankness, kindness and attentive listening naturally find the right words?
Why do we have to suffer this silence that causes so many frustrations? Why? ...
Maybe those words are frightening and so we are pretending to believe we are immortal?
We lazily think "we have time"... to see what will irrevocably happen one day! And we remain silent until the last moment when ... it is too late.
"One minute to dawdle ,a whole lifetime to regret "as the philosopher Vladimir Jankélévitch reminded us ...
However, the modern mind is ready to deal with transparency and objectivity : death concerns us all .
Therefore we can overcome and rise above this rather paradoxical situation with simplicity and sincerity .
Then we can prepare a garment for the Passing , at home, because this is so, accept it in the end and help our families find closure .
Let’s go on our thoughts.
Goodness beyond ourselves to others ...
That is not only a garment -it is an idea to bring fraternal love to the hearts and souls of our beloved ones. This new decisive act opposes compassion and attention to affective poverty, technical sophistication and silence of denial that are, I say it again, shields against true communication .
We can refer to the shroud, to the garment of the last day in the end of life. This might seem shocking or awkward but it is a way to put distance between us and our doubts and fears .
At the same time the aesthetics will will magnify this time of separation. The radiant simplicity of the shroud, the same sheet for everyone, will ease the pain of the last separation, the last glance .
We will wrap a shroud around the loved one with kindness, in the purity of this last garment. This wilful act will show a desire of acceptance of the death .
Honour Death , make it aesthetic ...
Only Beauty forces us to face death and to experience in a more intense manner what we wanted to flee from.It is the mystery of beauty .
Gratitude for us ...
On individual level, dealing peacefully with the question of own’s death it is good to talk about dying with serenity; it is not a sign of insensitivy but on the contrary it shows respect for others.
It’s about, precisely, making more tolerable the idea of death. In choosing our own garment, we avoid worries to our loved ones and let them get more time for funeral wake and grieve.
And maybe this shroud will be a last tribute, a last present for you, spontaneously offered? Let us be healed by love.
We were all born naked and our mothers wrapped us in white and when we leave this world we are naked again, wrapped in a shroud as everyone.
To move beyond the notion of denial "I do not want to know - I do not want to see" and to choose a clothing of death instead of a day life clothing reconciles us with our human destiny and with our status of mortal human beings.
Remind that in the past in the closet or in a chest there was a large linen sheet that was folded respectfully.
But currently, Hermanubis (trade mark) isn’t manufactured neither marketed, each can choose his remnant of fabric ...
Finally I will give a brief explanation .
In ancient Egyptian religion, Anubis, protector of graves, was the god of embalming and the dead.
Hermes is an Olympian god in Greek religion. He was the emissary and messenger of the gods, and a benefactor of mortals. He was the conductor of souls into the afterlife to Hades, god of the underworld, the god who ruled the dead and kept them in his realm, the Underworld, the Hells.
In classical mythology Hermanubis was a god who combined Hermes (Greek mythology) with Anubis (Egyptian mythology). Hermes' and Anubis's similar responsibilities (they were both conductors of souls) led to the god Hermanubis.
And one day The Hermanubis Shroud was created, a shroud ... to leave this world in beauty!
French patent , June 8 1998, N° 98/07324 Bulletin officiel de la propriété industrielle INPI n° 00/31 du 04.08.2000 du 04.08.2000 (publication number 2 779 343) granted to Mrs Claude Paoli.
Doctor Claude Paoli, a pediatrician.