Quote Originally Posted by ColoradoGuy View Post
Lately, because it's part of my job, I've been thinking about how we talk about the fact of death. The language of euphemism does wax and wane over time, but Lincoln, for example, spoke of "these honored dead," and "that these dead shall not have died in vain." Now I mostly hear about "passing over," "passed on," or "passed away."

Myself, I don't use those words. I talk about people dying, of being dead. I don't think the families I talk to think me callous or unfeeling; concern and sympathy are shown more in the manner in which we speak, in the time we take. Direct speech is powerful speech, and I think meaningful and moving discussions of death are actually cheapened by mincing words.

So I'm curious. Is it Politically Incorrect to say someone has died, is dead? I would feel phony if I said my patient has passed on. So I don't, and I don't think my word choice causes further pain. Words have power, and death is a powerful word. We should honor and respect the event with the most powerful words we have.
As a hospice social worker, I say "died." Occasionally "passed away," if I'm mirroring what someone else is saying. I try to consciously use died/death because those words have the appropriate weight. I agree with what you said in your post. I feel like I have a responsibility to not dance around what's going on. I still struggle with trying to balance being real with not wanting to sound harsh.

Quote Originally Posted by mccardey View Post
Yes, I've wondered about this. And wondered, too, why we don't have a word for the dying time - those days or weeks when we know that there will be no recovery, no other end.

We don't, do we?
Hospice philosophy is focusing on comfort and quality of life. Living with a terminal illness as opposed to dying from a terminal illness. That being said, we do have some vocabulary to communicate what we're seeing - if someone is beginning their process, actively dying, or death is imminent.