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“I don’t know what they wanted.” This is something we hear daily from people who have lost someone they love and don’t know what their wishes were. We care for and guide people through one of the most emotional times imaginable. With our experience, and Dying to Know Day on 8 August, we are shedding some light on the importance of talking through end-of-life wishes and starting conversations about ‘the end'.
When preparing for life milestones – a significant birthday, moving out of home, having a child or getting married – there are important decisions to be made, questions to ask and planning involved. Such as what you want, how you want to celebrate, where you want to reside, if it’s within your budget and what songs you want added to your playlist.
These decisions help process how you or your loved ones want to be celebrated and remembered. It also helps to clarify the role and requirements of people close to us, so that when the end arrives, your loved ones can be prepared.
We recognise death as an important milestone and an inevitable part of life and find that very few of us want to talk about it, which is understandable. Who wants to think about their mortality or the death of a loved one?
Since the pandemic, 90 per cent of Australians recognise the importance of talking about death and end of life wishes, but only 27 per cent have had the conversation.
This Dying to Know Day, we want to help you ‘get dead set’ to have these conversations around death with your close circle of family and friends.
It may be difficult to talk about, but it isn’t impossible and needn’t be heavy. We recommend viewing and treating this conversation as an act of love or compassion by providing your loved ones with information about what you value, fear and what’s important to you.
It can be challenging considering your wishes free of how those decisions may impact others when you’re no longer around. The benefit of discussing your end-of-life wishes and what matters to you can help reduce your stress and fear, including the fears of those around you by putting everyone at ease.
Sometimes the anticipation of the conversation is more dreadful than having the conversation itself.
Discussing end-of-life wishes with your loved ones can be as simple as letting family members or friends know:
Providing this information to your close family members and friends allows you to you get the send-off that you deserve. It also empowers your family and friends to know with clarity what your wishes are during an emotionally vulnerable time.
You’re not alone wanting to (or not wanting to) discuss death. When you are ready, we have many resources to help you get started. Like many life milestones, the beauty of planning means once it’s done you can focus on making more wonderful memories with those you love. Dying to Know Day helps encourage everyday Australians, like yourself to normalise the ‘d’ word - death - and begin making personal and meaningful end-of-life plans.
Final checklist by Dying to Know Day
Three-part action plan by Dying to Know Day