Passed away by Susan Grimsdell
Death is the word
It’s been a difficult week for me. What I mourn is not the death of the queen, but the passing away of the word death. The passing away of placing value on truth and reality, and the replacement of those vital golden values with the dross and fakery of euphemism.
I didn’t hear one single person use the word “died”. Nor did I hear one single person explain where she has passed away TO. Considering that a very small percentage of people in the UK and certainly in New Zealand believe in an afterlife, I can only assume they think she is floating around somewhere in outer space either in the form of atoms and stardust or, like Elon Musk’s convertible, still the same as ever; our dear old queen dressed in her full finery, crown and all, heading for the Kuiper Belt way past Pluto.
Grief and loss
There are many expressions that have taken over our language that cause me deep distress, but “passed away” is probably one of the worst offenders and I’ve had a week of it. So although I do sympathise with the new king and all the royals, but honestly – if you want to grasp the meaning of true grief, try being me, grieving what is undeniably the irretrievable loss of an irreplaceable word – “died”. Queens come and go, but words are lost forever.