Caitlin Doughty has always had a fascination with death, so much so that, despite graduating from university with a degree in history, she decided to become a mortician. Such a career choice is surely one of those that prompt the question, ‘Why?’ In Doughty’s case, her own explanation is harrowing but pretty convincing. When she was just eight years old, she saw a toddler fall to its death in a two-storey shopping mall, and heard the mother’s howls of agony as she saw it fall.
The effect of such a traumatic experience on some people might be to make them spend their entire lives avoiding the sight of death, even the thought of it – in which case they would find our own death-hiding, death-denying society very comfortable. Doughty went the other way, embracing death,