WE like to think it will never happen, but death comes to us all.
Dying to Know Day is a grassroots campaign aimed at encouraging us to have a conversation about death while we’re still able.
How would I like to be remembered? What kind of service would I like as the ultimate send-off? And who will make those decisions on my behalf if I am unable?
On August 8, Dying to Know campaigners hope you will try find answers to these questions while having an open conversation with friends and-or loved ones.
It is billed as the nation’s “biggest community conversation about death” and events have been planned in states and territories to start the talk.
In Bunbury Western Australia, local resident and end-of-life “doula” (or companion) Shane Bailey will field questions from people about death and dying and supporting people during the end stages of their life.
Across the continent and on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, a series of talks will be held about death, dying and bereavement.
NSW, the Northern Territory and South Australia have similar events while in Victoria, a talk on online life after death will be held in Bendigo.
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Dying to Know Day is also a time to think about palliative care and drawing up an advanced care plan.
You may also want to discuss alternatives to traditional cremation and burial.
Dying to Know Day has been organised by The Groundswell Project, co-founded in Melbourne in 2009 by clinical psychologist Kerrie Noonan and playwright Peta Murray.
The project’s aim is to “create a more death literate society, one where people and communities have the practical know-how needed to plan well for end of life”.
“We continue to be single-minded in our goal to tackle the stigma and taboo of death and the impact this discomfort has on our community,” Murray said.
The website, dyingtoknowday.org, includes a resources link for those wanting to create their own event.
The site also contains links to podcasts, blogs, films and talks, which may help those dying to know how to prepare for one of life’s greatest mysteries.
WE NEVER know when we will draw our last breath, so having a will and enduring power of attorney in place while we are able to make those decisions are essential.
Deciding a future course at your will
Yet according to the NSW Trustee and Guardian, just under half Australians do not have a will.
This is a legal document reflecting how you would like your assets distributed after your death.
Having a clear, legally valid and up-to-date will is the best way to help ensure that your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes.
Will kits can be downloaded online, emailed or printed out and sent to you by post.
An enduring power of attorney is an appointed, trusted person who will make personal and financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapable.
Public trustees can assist; more information at publictrusteesaustralia.com