It’s hard to talk about death. Even when she was terminally ill in a care home at 94, my grandmother refused to discuss whether she wished to be buried or cremated, and would not hear of anyone mentioning hymns or flower-arrangements though she was perfectly alert and chatty about anything but “The End”.
As a result, her funeral was impersonal. She hadn’t chosen any favourite music or expressed her wishes about how she be remembered, and it was only thanks to my mother that I was given her much-loved sewing box, which I now treasure and shall hand down to my own daughters. The vicar used a name she hated throughout the service (she always preferred her middle name) and completely ignored the fact that to most of the congregation this lady was Mummy or Nana or Great-Nana.
She was laid in a beautiful wicker coffin with an enormous floral arrangement, but was shouldered out of the church by austere black-clad gents from the funeral home in a business-like fashion that belied the frail old lady she had become: her grandchildren would have made a friendlier, less formal escort.
This got me thinking about how little we discuss our own deaths. We imagine weddings and parties and plan the big moments in our lives in depth. But not the Big One. Isn’t that strange? Our nearest and dearest will be emotionally and physically involved and yet we do nothing to make it easier for them. And the closer we get to the likely end, when we are old, or fall properly ill, the less likely we are to feel comfortable with discussing “what to do about my death”.
So how about discussing it now. Whatever your age. However well you may feel. Just make yourself a drink and have a poke around my website. You’ll probably be surprised at how much there is to think about. Or you may just marvel at the amount of money that can be spent on a bespoke coffin and a knees-up in your honour. Either way, perhaps it will make you realise just how many decisions there are to make when someone dies.
And how much you can help by letting someone, anyone, know your will and wishes in advance.
Let’s all plan for the day when we leave. It’s the best protection we can offer to our loved ones at a time of raw emotion.
Drop me a line if you’d like to know more,