As a Chaplain I constantly reflect on the simple truth that dying is a certainty for us all. Also that humankind has decided the sort of age at which we think it is acceptable to die, and it is a figure that gets bigger and bigger as the years roll on. Yet I still surprise myself in my belief that I too will go on and on, with total good health, until I am over a hundred and fall asleep blissfully after a milky drink! The reality is that some of us will not live to great years and, even if we do, our death is as important as our birth, signifying the marker posts of our lives.
This year’s Dying Matters Awareness Week focuses on the Big Conversation – “Talking about dying won’t make it happen!”. And it really is true. There is no such thing as tempting fate. But what is there to talk about? We could start wherever we are, at whatever age we are, and even if we are perfectly fit, with the open acknowledgment that we won’t all live forever. Then have a think about:
- Do significant members of your family and friendship group know your story, where you grew up, what has happened in your life, what you have experienced?
- Have you said “I love you” and “thank you” today?
- Are there material things that you would like to pass to someone special after your death?
- Who might take care of any dependents or of your pets?
- Where is your preferred place of death?
- Who is important to you?
- What is important to you? (Music, hobbies, interests perhaps).
- What do you believe in?
- Is the celebration of your life (your funeral) going to reflect who you are?
You see, there is a lot to talk about. Doing so will help you and your loved ones to understand yourselves and each other better. So, buy some cakes, a nice meal, a bottle of wine, a picnic…. or whatever is a special treat to you, get together with those you care about, and get talking.
Rev’d Clare Griffiths | Lead Chaplain