This year, to mark Dying Matters Awareness Week, of which we are long term supporters, we’ve created a help sheet aimed at helping people to talk to their friends and family about their wishes in the event of their death. It isn’t always easy to start a conversation about death or dying, but it’s a natural part of life, and, as with so many things, being able to talk about it can be a great comfort.

‘Let’s Talk About Death’ is a series of simple suggestions to facilitate discussions between family members and friends. These are designed to help people to tackle this potentially difficult subject with more ease, well before it is needed.

Download our fact sheet here: Let’s Talk About Death – May 2021

This year has really focused our national thinking on how precious, but also how unpredictable, life can be. Many of us give no thought at all to how we would wish our lives to be commemorated – and that’s fine, except that it can leave friends and relatives with a dilemma as to what their loved one might have wanted. During Dying Matters Awareness Week, we are all encouraged to talk more about death as a natural part of life. That can be very healthy, but it can be difficult to get started.

In some cultures, mentioning death is something of a taboo, but we have found that once people get talking, they gain enormous peace of mind in letting others know their wishes in advance. For example, most of us have a favourite song, poem, or scriptural reading that we would like to have played or read at our funeral. Many people now express a preference for not having everyone wearing black at their funeral. It is helpful to record this. Our handy document, My Funeral Wishes, is a really good place to start.

We felt it was time to facilitate these sorts of conversations more easily.

Of course, the ultimate in planning ahead is a pre-paid funeral plan, which more and more people are opting for. This allows them both a degree of self-determination and a strong measure of peace of mind. Many feel that they have lifted the burden from their loved ones at an extremely difficult time. Hunnaball Family Funeral Group offers a range of options for pre-paid funeral plans for this reason.

Our hope is that just reading through the sheet will take some of the sting out of the issue and help people to talk more freely. If just one conversation is facilitated, that will be excellent.

There are also some excellent resources on the Dying Matters website.

We particularly love this leaflet; Things to do before you die.

Our friends at Compassionate Communities are also taking part:

You can find out more about events for Dying Matters Week here in Essex via these links: