Talking about death 

two women looking at talking woman

The inspiration for the Workshop and the MyGoodbyes Party comes from the Death Café movement, which is an open forum where a group of people discuss death, and their thoughts and fears around it. Our Workshop and MyGoodbyes Party applies tech and inspirational videos to the concept to enable a group of loved ones to get their end of life plans on the right track. As an aside, we do very much encourage people to attend a live Death Café if you get the chance.

The aim of the MyGoodbyes is to get you thinking about death, and also to help you start to feel more comfortable with the concept of death, and with talking about it, so we’ve set out some helpful questions to get you started.

The challenges of talking about Death

Whilst death is something that is part of everyone’s life, oftentimes it remains a taboo subject which people avoid, or if they can’t, they’re left feeling that they haven’t handled the conversation particularly well.  

MyGoodbyes will help you to process your thoughts around death into ways to have meaningful conversations on the topic.

We recommend starting with the Ted Talk.

This fascinating presentation from Michelle Knox is a great way to get started on why we should talk about death.  As set out in Michelle’s bio on TED, in 2017, Knox’s father passed away from a progressive illness. Through this experience, Knox learned that talking about death and planning for it enabled her father to experience a ‘good death’. She is living proof that talking about death won’t kill you. 

From her talk, she highlights the two main benefits of talking about death:

  • Talking about death before you are dying can help you experience a good death, and takes the emotion out of conversations and planning
  • Through talking openly about death, we are better able to talk to those that are grieving.

Why we should talk about death

Most of us have some views on how we would like to die, what type of funeral we would like and what we want to happen to our things.  Yet very few of us have communicated these details to those closest to us.  What this means is that often our loved ones do not know the type of end of life care and send off that we want, and likewise, we don’t know their preferences. 

Many of us won’t have even considered formalising or communicating what we’d like for our own send-off unless we’ve had to organise a funeral for someone else, or had to make decisions about end of life care.  Being responsible for making decisions about someone else can trigger us to think about what we want.  Yet, still too few people talk openly about this. 

By not talking about death, we risk having an end of life that we do not want, and we also increase the stress for our loved ones at an emotional time. Having meaningful conversations when we are healthy makes those discussions less emotional, more practical, and it ensures that nothing is left unsaid when it’s become too late.

Whatever your age, it’s never too early to start the conversation about death and funerals.  It is the only way to ensure your loved ones know what you want. Whilst talking about your own death might not be the most comfortable of topics, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Finally, remember that these conversations should be ongoing; as time goes by our thoughts and needs may change too.