Lets talk about death
We live in a society that does not like to talk about death and when people die it is treated as alien when in fact it is part of life.
A report by The Grattan Institute published last year found that dying in Australia was more institutionalised than the rest of the world, with the majority of people dying in hospital or a residential care facility. Kerrie Noonan, a clinical psychologist specialising in palliative care said "We're not around death," Ms Noonan said. "Death is removed; it takes place in a hospital or a hospice. We don't have a context for having conversations about death."
I strongly believe that death needs to be discussed, we need share our plans with our loved ones and it needs to be seen as a normal part of living and not something morbid to only talk about in whispers.
A community group called "The Groundswell Project" in Australia came together to create wider awareness about dying to help overcome reluctance to address the issue that will happen to each one of us. One of things the group did was come up with 10 things people need to know about death, whilst this group does not have a Christian focus, what they include in their list is still relevant.
1. Make a plan. Fewer than 5% of people have an end of life plan.
2. Write a will. Only 55% of people who die have a will.
3. Tell someone what you want. Of those who know they are dying, only 25% will have spoken to their families about their wishes.
4. Only 30% of deaths are unexpected. Make a decision about how you want to die while you have time.
5. Doctors don't die like the rest of us. They are more likely to die at home with less invasive intervention at the end of their lives.
6. Earlier referral to palliative care means living longer with better quality of life.
7. You don't need a funeral director. DIY funerals are becoming more popular.
8. The majority of Australians choose cremation but there are alternatives including natural burial, burial at sea or donating your body for research.
9. We don't grieve in stages. Only 10% of us need professional support after a death.
10. 60% of people think we need to spend more time talking about death.
As they say on their blog "The more we talk, the less we fear" and that is a good reminder, many people are afraid of dying and therefore think that if they don't talk about it, it perhaps won't happen to them.
Of course, for Christians, death takes us to Christ and that our journey at the end of our life is simply a departure from this world to something so much better.
"And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
We have nothing to fear with death as we know that through the door there will be — no more pain and suffering, no more tears, weariness, no more death, no more evil, no more sin, no more persecution, no more hunger . . .
In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.