In the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, preliminary CDC data shows there were 3.4 million deaths in the US, 17% higher than what was expected for the year. As of July 19, 2022, America has ~1.05 million cumulative Covid deaths. (From USAFacts.org)
The American attitude to death has always been obfuscation and denial. It starts with the euphemism, "Mrs. Robinson passed away."
The euphemism "passed away" is a way of avoiding saying that someone has died. It is a way of softening the blow, of making it seem less final.
The use of euphemisms around death is a way of eliding the reality of death, of denying its finality. Euphemisms make the speaker feel better about the situation. In this case, the speaker is avoiding saying the word "death" in order to avoid the reality of the situation.
American Hero, Julie McFadden
Julie McFadden arrived in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) from her origins in Western Pennsylvania. Julie used to be an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse. She's now — and has been for years — a hospice nurse.
Julie is an American hero because she has infused death with life. She has helped many Americans and their families deal with death. She has poured her heart, mind, and soul and taken on the persona akin to a superhero.
Hospice Nurse Julie
She has over 900K TikTok followers. And her videos have been consumed for both education and entertainment millions of times.
Julie is a hospice nurse who is known for her calm demeanor online. She is in problem solving mode and does straight talk with her clients about various aspects of dying. Her work has had a direct and quantifiable impact on educating and providing American families practical advice on the last 6 months or so of life and death.
Her work has managed to unite a segment of the country, behind our shared fate of eventual death.
The MakeUsWell Interview
MakeUsWell was curious about the real person behind the online phenomenon. (There are times we've discovered that there isn't an authentic real person behind the online persona)
We called Julie for ~39 minutes. We found:
A real, authentic, down-to-earth person with genuine compassion and a zest for her work.
Combined with pragmatic intelligence and top-notch skills in her craft.
Her answer to the question (paraphrased from James Lipton), "if heaven exists, what do you want to see there?," was particularly insightful. She mentioned broad themes of love, people close to her heart, and knowledge that she acquired and gave.
The MakeUsWell network thanks Julie McFadden and other great nurses. These men and women are key to America navigating our turbulence and making it to a sunny day.