Dealing with demise

How to talk to your partner, family, and friends about death.

Dealing with demise

Dealing with demise 1800 1200 DeadHappy

Talking to your family about death can be a tricky subject.

For many people, discussing death is the ultimate elephant in the room, which, coincidentally, would be a pretty cool way to bite the dust.

But it doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom. Talking about death can be an insightful conversation, bring your nearest and dearest together, and help tackle the cultural squeamishness around death.

Creating clarity

When you die, you want to make sure that your final wishes are sorted. Don’t have your last ‘to do’ list as unclear and muddy as the hole you’ll soon be dead in. Use this opportunity to make sure everyone knows your plan.

It’s shocking that forty percent of people in the UK aren’t sure what their partner’s wishes are when it comes to death.

Mentioning which songs you and your family would like at your funerals can be a great conversation starter. Wind Beneath My Wings for dear old mum, My Way for your legend of a dad, and Highway To Hell for “handsy” Uncle Terry (the least said about that the better).

Talking about death allows people to ask questions. Being open enough to discuss the taboo of death helps demystify it, making it easier for death to be dealt with, both emotionally and practically. Many people can feel alone when it comes to death, but this doesn’t have to be the case with open conversation.

Discussing death with a partner

The chances are your partner is who you feel closest to. If not, there are probably more pressing conversations you should be having. It’s usually the case that a partner is the person who will benefit from a life insurance plan. Having the conversation about death can ensure that they know what to expect, what the process will be, and what they’re entitled to. Although of course, you don’t want to make the consequences of your death sound too appealing.

Talking about death is planning for life. Over 80% of people have nothing written down about their death wishes. It’s sad to think four in every five ghosts will leave their own funerals in disgust. We’re not prepared to sit around and let this happen.

Presumably, you want your partner to have the funeral they asked for, and vice versa. It’s impossible to fulfil that wish if you don’t discuss it. Talking about death doesn’t bring death any closer, but it can reduce the stress and ambiguity.

Discussing death with parents

It is always good to be prepared and discuss death with parents, especially considering the winters we’ve been having. This conversation is a two-way street – you will gain clarity on their wishes, and, if you beat them to the grave, it allows them to know yours.

Statistically, it’s less likely that you will die before your parents. But it happens. Making sure your parents know what you want when it comes to burial plans, how to split your assets, or who to actually invite to the funeral is of pivotal importance. It’ll be a tough time anyway for your folks, you don’t want to burden them with your mortal responsibilities.

No one wants a shit funeral. If you’ve ever spent any time in hospital and had to rely on your parents to bring you your clothes, you’ll know full well that they can’t be relied on to make these crucial life decisions for you.

Discussing death with children

No, we don’t mean traumatising your friends’ kids at a barbecue about the inevitability of death; we mean having a sensitive conversation with your own children. Talking about death with children can be a daunting task. Arguably, it’s the hardest conversation to have. Well, joint top with that conversation you had when your parents found ‘those magazines’ in your room.

There are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to dealing with death and explaining it to children. Do use the words ‘death’ and ‘died’. Many opt for ‘passing away’, ‘gone to sleep’, or ‘left for a better place’, but this can actually create confusion and anxiety for some children. You need to be direct, honest, and ready to answer questions. You need to make sure you’re patient and helpful.

Keep it in the family

Don’t let yourself endure a ceremony you’re not on board with. Talk to your family about your deathwishes. Make sure they know exactly when to hit play on the Top Gun soundtrack and launch your coffin into the furnace, heading straight into that danger zone.

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