August 8th, is ‘Dying to Know Day’ in Australia. It is a relatively new movement that hopes to help people become more knowledgeable about death. This movement encourages people to have conversations about death and discussing the topic of death with loved ones. By creating opportunities to have conversations about dying reinforces that death is a part of life. Having these conversations about death may surprisingly bring more joy and peace to one’s life.
The movement encourages people to create outings with their family or even private gatherings in which families and close friends can gather and talk about the topic of death.
Origins of the Movement
The movement is based on the book, ‘Dying to Know: Bringing Death to Life’, authored by Andrew Anastasios. The book discusses the topic of death and has become very popular with workers in the Palliative Care sector. People in The Ground Swell Project were inspired by the book and thought that they would want to spread the messages in the book to everyone in order to help educate everyone about death.
Goals of the Day
The main goal of this event is to encourage death literacy for Australians. The movement sparks community led conversations about end of life and everything that it entails from pre-planning funeral services to how a person would want their family to cope with their death.
Dying to Know Day encourages people to share their thoughts and wishes in order to educate their family members regarding their final wishes.
When the conversations about death and dying happen, it helps family members equip themselves with the necessary tools to deal with the death of a loved one or the approaching days of a death occurring. Dying to Know Day encourages people to have conversations related to death no matter what the health status of the people involved is.
Death Conversations in Canada
Do Canadians understand that facing the realities of death and dying may actually help them cherish the basic joys, routines and treasures present in our daily lives?
Conversations have started here in Canada, working alongside hospice workers and nursing homes to help start communication with our loved ones about death and dying.
A List of Conversation Starters Focused on Death and Dying:
– What song(s) would you like played at your funeral?
– Where would you like to be at your time of death?
– How would you like to be remembered?
– What would you like your monument (tombstone) to read?
– Discuss the first time you experienced a loss.
– What is your favourite joke about death and dying?
– Have you ever been present at the time of someone else’s death? If not, how would you imagine that experience?
– What would your final words be to your family and friends?
– What would you like the closing line of your eulogy to be?
– In your opinion, what is the most memorable death scene in a book/movie?
– What could you live without ever trying once?
– What would you like your last meal to be?
– What sort of offering can surviving family and friends bring to your funeral? Flowers? Food? Charitable donations? Cards?
– If you could bring someone (friend/family member/historical figure) back from the dead to spend an afternoon with, who would it be?
– Which actor/actress would you like to portray you in the movie about your life? How would you like the movie to end?
It is never too soon to talk about death. Someone could be dying to know what your final wishes would be.