Dying to Know

It was Benjamin Franklin in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy in 1789 who wrote, “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. Now I am not going to talk about an America constitutional crisis or taxes, but death. 

8 August is ‘Dying to Know’ Day (D2KD). It’s about encouraging useful, healthy and honest conversations about the one thing all humans have in common — dying.  Inspired by the quirky self-help book Dying to Know: Bringing Death to Life by Andrew Anastasios, an Australian organisation called the Groundswell Project decided to dedicate the day to destigmatise the topic and encourage people to plan for their death and those important to them.

Now you might say, I am young and basically plan to live forever. But, as Groucho Marx (American comedian and actor) said “I intend to live forever, or die trying”. You might have a fatal accident or allergic reaction. Even some snake and insect bites can be fatal. Does your family and friends know what you would want? So, take this day to give dying some thought, even if you think its decades away. And also think about the death of the loved ones around you. If you are fortunate to still you’re your parents or other older relatives, do you know what you would need to know to organise a funeral and honour their wishes.

Practical things you can do include writing a will and obituary, discussing end-of-life plans, planning a funeral (burial / cremation, religious / secular), what insurances or other financial arrangements need to be made, where important documents are kept. One other task you might want to consider is to write letter to loved one that would be opened after you pass. These can include a few words of love, appreciation and perhaps some advice or guidance.

A funeral is an important ceremony in life and it deserves some thought and planning. As Suleika Jaouad (American writer, advocate and motivational speaker.) put it, “We have birthdays and bar mitzvahs and funerals and weddings. And these ceremonies and rituals, I believe, really help us transition from one point to another”.

Approaching the topic of death with loved ones can be difficult. There remains a stigma and taboos around talking openly about death. So, be prepared for some reluctance or stilted response. But be determined. You might want to explain why you’re interested in having the conversation, reassure them that you just want the best for everyone.

Feelings of lose and grief are inevitable no matter how well prepared you are for the death of a loved one. And grief affects us all differently. If you are struggling with the death of a loved one or your own following a diagnosis then hypnotherapy can help in several ways. Contact me for more information.

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