Sunday, August 3, 2014

Dying to Know: Lets talk about death...

August 8th is Dying to Know Day. A remarkable project initiated by The Groundswell Project

Remarkable in that it aims to encourage us to DISCUSS DEATH! Something we almost ALWAYS shy away from, (not to mention squirm in our seats, change the subject, try and ignore, blush, stutter, look at the ground, talk too much or too fast, oh and did I mention change the subject?)!

9 out of 10 people never tell anyone their end of life wishes.
45% of people die without a will.
80% of people wish to die at home yet only 20% do.

Perhaps if we could discuss death more openly these figures would balance out a bit? Perhaps we'd also feel more confident in supporting others? Perhaps we may even fear death less?!

Who knows - lets try it!

HOMEWORK: Below are a few common and confusing scenarios/discussion points.Your homework this week is to bring up one of these topics at the dinner table, have an interactive chat, see where you end up...

.... Deep breath, HERE WE GO...

'Ignoring' the bereaved
* Don't want to say the wrong thing? 
* Don't want to cry, don't want to 'not' cry, don't know what to do? 
* Don't know the family well enough to contact them?
* Didn't know the deceased well enough to contact the family?
* Left it too long and now don't know how to bring it up?
* Feeling guilty about any/all of the above yet I'm doing them anyway?

I don't think I'm meant to feel this sad!
* I didn't really know them, I shouldn't really be feeling like this!
* They lived a good life, died peacefully, an end to their suffering, aren't I meant to be happy for them!?
* Billy had a stronger relationship with the deceased, I should appear to be less affected than Billy...
* It's been a long time since Katie died, I must appear to seem more 'together' to the general public...

I think I'm meant to feel MORE sad!
* I'm not responding the same way the others are. Am I heartless? Insensitive? Should I try harder?
* Its on the news, it's a disaster, in theory I'm devastated, in reality I actually don't FEEL anything.
* Actually I didn't really like them, am I meant to pretend now that I did??

Being strong for someone else.
* Can I do it and still properly address my own emotional needs?
* Will I miss out on getting to grieve with everyone else and have to do it later by myself?
* Is it actually what the 'someone else' wants?

Funeral Etiquette
* Look at the roof, look at the roof, don't cry, don't cry...
* I'll just stand at the back so I don't have to see the coffin or the family...
* I won't go over to the bereaved family, they'll have so many people wanting to talk to them...
* Is what I'm wearing OK? Is it too black? Is it not black enough??

Asking for Support
* I don't want to tell anyone about this, it's too depressing and I'm always the cheerful one...
* I can't ask for their support, it'll make them feel awkward...
* No one can say or do anything to make it better anyway so why bother...

Now, I know what's potentially going to happen here! You've just read this and identified with a few of the  points, think it's a great idea and something that really should be talked about. "I'm going to do this tonight" you're thinking... But tonight comes and the subject matter seems too intense and you decide to give it a miss...


You may just be surprised how refreshing such a conversation can be.

And you never know, someone at your table may just be dying to have this conversation...

(Visit D2K Day on facebook here and find a Dying to Know Day event near you)

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Thankyou for sharing this journey with me. I love reading your comments and treasure each one.