Let’s Talk About Dying. No? Well no one would blame you. Very few people want to talk about dying and even less are able to do so with any kind of cheer. But, it really should be something we talk about. People love to talk about inevitable things like tax, weather, illness, traffic, work and so on but yet when it comes to the single most guaranteed thing in life we clam up.
There is, of course a reason for this and that is because it is sad, scary and a whole host of others things as well as being a bit impolite in some situations. The irony of it all is by talking about it less we actually make it all worse. If we were more open about it we can avoid some of the more negative aspects of dying.
Even if you are not much of a planner in life it is really useful to try and be one in death. By planning ahead you will help those you leave behind cope both personally and financially. Most people have a will but not enough people seem to have a funeral plan.
What exactly is a funeral plan? Well it is more than most people think. The term funeral plan makes people think of a set plan for what happens at your funeral but that is not strictly it. A funeral plan is actually a financial savings plan that means when you pass away the costs of the ceremony and cremation or burial are covered. This means your loved ones do not have to find a lot of extra money at a very upsetting time. But the added bonus of a funeral plan is that many of them do allow you to set a plan of how it all happens too! So not only are you looking after the cost you are also looking after the organisation and this can be a big help.
Buy being open and discussing both aspects of death we can go a long way to helping those we leave behind to cope and celebrate our lives rather than have a distressing amount of cost and worry to deal with.
Burial or Cremation
Another cheerful subject? Well it should be one we are happy to talk about because…well there is a lot to talk about. Firstly for many people these days the idea of being buried is somewhat horrific!
We have been burying our dead for well over 100,000 years and it all started for a few reasons. Firstly it was a safe and easy way to get the body out of the way. It was also a good way to protect it from certain forms of wildlife shall we say. Aside from the functional aspect it soon became a tradition and one that has held sway for a long time. That being said our Nordic friends have long seen the value and honour in cremation. These days it really is important to have a think and an open discussion about how you would like to be “dealt with”. There are other options now too! You can be buried naturally in a woodland rather than in a cemetery in a coffin. This popular new option is much more eco friendly using less materials, costing less and leaving less in the ground itself.
By discussing this openly you can really get to the bottom of how you would like to be treated be it ashes scattered from a cliff or helping plants and trees to grow in a woodland; without talking about it your loved ones will have to make a guess!
When it comes to planning events in our lives nothing will surpass a wedding or perhaps a 50th birthday but oddly almost no planning goes into a funeral. While you may sit back and say “I won’t be there so I don’t really mind” what you are actually doing is leaving all the decisions to the people you have left behind and that is stressful! They will worry they might get it wrong and offend your memory when you have only just died.
Once again, get chatting about it, start thinking about music, food, locations…maybe even a guest list! If you want people to talk about funny moments then specify this, if you would simply rather get everyone down the pub then get it written down. There is lots of inspiration out there!
However you would like things to go it is clear that we need to talk about it all more. From the financial aspect of funeral planning to deciding how we wish our body to be dealt with and how the ceremony will go. We need to cheer up about it all because it is going to happen so why not try and make sure it is how you want it and allow your loved ones to celebrate your live in a positive way that doesn’t get them in debt or leave them worrying if they did it OK or not!
This is a collaborative post
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.