Thanatology is the knowledge related to the causes and effects of the end of earthly life. It arose with the purpose of alleviating the physical and emotional pain that occurs in a terminal patient, that is, in a person who suffers and knows the diagnosis of his or her illness, from which he or she is possibly going to die in a short time.
At the beginning of this century, mental health specialists in various countries predicted that, by 2020, depression would be the second cause of disability in the population. This prediction was fulfilled and exceeded as it was one of the consequences of the recent pandemic. In total, every 40 seconds, a person takes their own life somewhere in the world.
Nowadays there is an increasingly widespread culture of acceptance of death when it comes to terminal patients whose conditions can no longer be treated with advances in medical science. In those moments, many people affirm that they want to spend their last days assisted in their physical needs, enjoy the company of their loved ones, order pending issues, and surround themselves with a spiritual environment outside the hospitals where they are treated.
Humanity, from the beginning of its existence, has been concerned with establishing a place to live and another to die. History museums give us examples of burials near family homes in which death was given a special meaning, due to the care in handling the deceased, the offerings and utensils that were placed along with the bodies.
On November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan decreed the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States. The first states applied it since 1986 and as of January 17, 2000 it is officially celebrated in the 50 states of the country. It is thus marked by the anniversary of his birth and by legal procedure of non-working days, it is celebrated on the third Monday of January of each year.
Ancient teaching said that before dying a person had to do three things: have children, plant a tree and write a book. Over time, various media have added more purposes to this list, in order to motivate people to value life and make it meaningful. Some mental health experts say that we do not have to wait until the last minute to fulfill our wishes.