Sadly, many people don't feel comfortable talking about end of life issues, including how they might wish (or not) to say goodbye.
Sure enough, each and every one of us is going to leave this earth one day. Most of us will never know when this will be, while some will, through illness or other circumstance, have their journeys cut short.
There are many ways in which people describe this end-of-life process, some a little less reverent than others. Here are some common euphemisms:
Talking about end-of-life matters should be something that every family does, so it's very clear that each family member understands the legal issues associated with dying, has a say in what happens to their remains and their estates, and importantly, knows what their other loved ones want for themselves in that regard.
The world is heading for the biggest intergenerational transfer of wealth as the "baby boomer" generation approaches end-of-life. Those born after the Second World War during the "baby boom" that followed that conflict are now septuagenarians about to cross over into their 80s, and so wills and estate planning are things on many people's minds during the twilight stage of their lives.
Living well, staying at home as long as possible before care becomes a necessity, palliative care options if needed, advanced health directives, powers of attorney, separation from loved ones and pets, and how to say farewell are some of the other things that older Australians and others from around the world are thinking about. Being able to talk about all of these things with your loved ones is vitally important.
"Death Cafes" have popped up in many locations around the world to help people start conversations about end-of-life issues. Comfortable surroundings, a hot or cold drink, friendly faces, and a common simple agenda to inform mean that people can arm themselves with information about the things that come into play as we approach death and eventually die.
One of the big things that Death Cafes do is help remove the fear of dying and remove the stigma of talking about something many people of all ages find uncomfortable. Death Cafes aren't just for older people or sick people - they welcome people of all ages and dispositions, including loved ones, carers and friends.
I'll have more to say on this subject in the coming months. I hope you'll stick with me because it will definitely be worth waiting for.
How people say goodbye is a very personal thing. This blog is by an experienced, professional civil celebrant who provides bespoke (custom-designed) ceremonies for people pre-planning their farewell, or for family members organising a goodbye for someone who has passed.