I passed, from fifth to sixth to seventh grade

to eighth grade, then passed into high school, etc. When I die, I will die, I WILL NOT PASS. I don't understand this nonsense about passing. I just heard Joe Klein, who writes for Time, talk about when Richard Holbrooke "passed." Not the first time I've heard this on NPR and not the first time it has annoyed me. Somehow I expect better from them.

Why are we so afraid to say "death," or "died?" Or are we implying that people have passed to another reality? another dimension? Or am I just being obtuse in not understanding we think they passed on to heaven? Or failed, if you went to hell? 

I think language is important. Death is a part of life. Not being able to acknowledge it, distorts our understanding of life. When the time comes I shall die; I shall not pass.

4 thoughts on “I passed, from fifth to sixth to seventh grade

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more, Ruthe! I’ve also made a conscious effort the last few years of saying what I mean, dead, death or died. But it still pervades all around me.

  2. Im not sure its Victorian. I hear it more now than ever before. I think it is part of our denial of aging and its inevitable consequence.

  3. I agree. Perhaps it’s something left over from that Victorian burden we all carry. Or perhaps it is something from the mid-west. My husband and his family say “passed” while I say dead, death, and died. I agree with you that this Victorian softening doesn’t make it.

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