Why It’s Important to Talk about Death
Death is inevitable for all of us, but it isn’t something most of us want to talk about. It can be uncomfortable to think of your own mortality and painful to remember the loss of someone dear to you. Discussing death can feel grim and may even be frightening. Not talking about death, though, can sometimes lead to misunderstandings about how people feel about their own death and what they really want.
A non-profit organization called Death over Dinner has come up with a simple plan to facilitate meaningful conversations about death. It’s exactly as it sounds: have dinner, discuss death. Visitors to their website can fill in a simple questionnaire, explaining why they want to have this kind of dinner, and a list of questions will be generated to help guide conversation. Since the organization was formed in 2013, there have been over 100,000 “death dinners” around the world. There’s even a book, written by the group’s founder, offering practical advice on how to have these important conversations.
Another group focused on getting people to talk about death is Dying Matters. A coalition of individuals and organizations in England and Wales, Dying Matters “aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life,” according to their website. Originally funded by the Department of Health, this coalition is working to change the way society views death and dying, encouraging open discussion and acceptance of death as a natural part of life. The hope is that more people will talk about their end-of-life wishes, including where they want to die and how they want their funeral to be.
Why are so many people jumping on the bandwagon of talking about death? Because it’s an important thing to discuss. When we embrace death as a part of life, talking about it openly and honestly, it helps us to build empathy and connect with other people in our lives. Demystifying death can help people cope better when death occurs in their lives. Perhaps most importantly, discussing death facilitates preplanning.
Preplanning is not just a smart thing to do, it’s a compassionate action. When you preplan you make your final wishes known, but you also prevent your family from experiencing undue stress during an already painful time. You take the guesswork out of your final arrangements by preplanning, and your family doesn’t have to answer difficult questions while they’re grieving your loss.
Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory has been supporting families in our community since 1915. When you’re ready to talk, we’re here to listen. When you’re ready to preplan, we can help with that, too. Call us at (253) 948-9895 for more information or request your free preplanning guide.