Below, Lianna Champ tells us why we should talk about death ….
Why not talk about it? We make arrangements and plan for so many things that may never happen, yet the one thing that we know will happen, we put off in the hope that ‘we don’t tempt fate’.
Talking about the weather doesn’t make it rain and if you don’t talk about your own demise or at least tell your family what you want and what you want to happen to you after you die and how you want to be remembered, then all the decisions will end up being made by someone else, hopefully a relative but perhaps with input from a professional who never even knew you.
I can’t tell you how much comfort it brings when people know they are carrying out the exact wishes of their loved one and let’s face it, we do like to keep our hands on the wheel and, whilst we are alive, knowing that our wishes will be carried out can give us a feeling that we continue even after we have died. It can also bring a feeling of closeness with those we love as they walk through our instructions, knowing we planned these steps for them. There is something really comforting and healing knowing that we are doing the right thing.
A Difficult Conversation
So how do we make a difficult conversation easier ..
Use everyday props and conversations to open the idea of talking about death …
… a song playing on the radio … you may say, “I love this song and I want it played at my funeral. Have you ever thought what you would like?’.
Or watching a program on TV, find something that resonates with you and death/funerals and mention it.
Talk About Death
You will be surprised at how this can often be a great opportunity to have a really good chat about death. Yes, I agree that talking about death can be morbid, but it doesn’t have to be because when we talk about death and funerals we become more aware of life and living and this can actually make us better people as we realise the value of life.
We should also be more aware of the importance of sharing our feelings and knowing what we want for ourselves. Communication is key in any relationship and being open about everything brings an honesty and feeling of completeness. When we lose someone, we can have a sense of feeling ‘unfinished’ if we have to guess the things that they would have wanted.
Let your loved ones know what is important to you and also what it means to you knowing that they will respect your wishes.
Lianna Champ has over 40 years’ experience in grief counselling and funeral care and is author of practical guide, How to Grieve Like A Champ