BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 26 April 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1286
  1. Liam Farrell, general practitioner
  1. Crossmaglen, County Armagh County Armagh

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    In Ireland we have an ambivalent approach to death. Before it happens we are defensive and guarded, and denial is our most frequent coping mechanism. But after death (if it's somebody else's) our attitude changes radically, and we have what is known as a wake, a triumphant ceremony, a celebration of life in the face of death, an acceptance that death is a fitting end to what was a good story and a tale well worth the telling. The death of a child or a young adult is never fair, never right, but for our older people a wake can …

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