Austin's Blog

 

Let’s talk about the ‘D’ word

April 26th, 2017    Author:

Death and dying are not something most people naturally want to talk about. In fact, one research study found that people would rather discuss money or politics with family and friends. So it’s often not until a loved one dies that our thoughts turn to their wishes concerning their funeral.

Unfortunately, according to the study, only 30% of people had let someone know their funeral wishes. It also found that because of people’s reticence to talk about death, only 25% of respondents had asked a family member about their end of life wishes and just 7% had written down their wishes about the care they’d like if they were unable to make decisions.

With Dying Matters Week  taking place next month, it’s hoped that people will be encouraged to think about and discuss death and dying. During the week there will be nationwide events on this important subject, including coffee mornings, healing woodland walks, spiritual ceremonies, talks and film screenings.

It may be a good time to open up the conversation with loved ones and ask them questions such as how they would like to be looked after in later life, whether they’ve made a will and what kind of funeral they’d like. Perhaps they have a particular song they’d like or they have a favourite colour they’d like incorporated into the ceremony.

Talking about death doesn’t have to be morbid or depressing. Chatting about it is a great opportunity to think about what you’d like and to let friends and family know your wishes. When the time comes, it will help them to know that they are doing the right thing and that everything is as you wanted it.

* For help and support planning a funeral, please contact us on 01438 815555.

Should you take children to a funeral?

November 12th, 2016    Author:

Should you take children to a funeral?

When a child attends a funeral or cremation, it can help them to understand that death is final and gives them the chance to be with their family and friends to say goodbye. This can be an important part of the healing process.

The first thing to do is to ask your child if they’d like to go to the funeral. Sit down and talk to them about what this involves – who will be there, what will happen and why you are doing this. If your child is given clear information, they can make their own decision about whether or not they want to go.

If your child doesn’t want to go to the funeral

* Reassure them that this is OK and that not everybody goes to a funeral.

* Ask them whether there’s anything they don’t understand about funerals or if they have any more questions.

* Let them know that they can change their mind – even if it’s on the day of the funeral.

* Perhaps ask them if they’d like you to tell them about the funeral when it’s over – again, reassuring them it’s OK if this isn’t what they want.

* Talk to them about how they’d like to be involved in saying goodbye without going to the funeral. They might want to help pick the funeral flowers or to write a poem to be read out at the service.

If your child wants to go to the funeral

* Ask them if they have any questions about the funeral or if there’s anything they don’t understand.

* Explain that it’s OK to cry and it’s OK not to cry, and that they may even want to smile or laugh. Reassure them that whatever they feel like doing, that’s alright.

* You might want to ask someone trusted to help take care of your child during the ceremony.

* Include them in the planning of the funeral and look at ways they can be part of the service. They might want to write a poem or some special words that can be read out. Perhaps they could draw a picture of the deceased, which could be printed on the Order of Service. On the day, they might simply want to keep a special memento in their pocket.

After the funeral…

Whether or not your child wants to go to the funeral service, they can still be involved with commemorating the deceased’s life. Sit down together to talk about ways they’d like to remember their loved one. They might want to:-

* name a star

* plant a tree

* launch a balloon

* make a memory board

* You can download our free booklet, Talking to Children About Death, at

http://www.austins.co.uk/additional-support.html

Is it time to talk about death?

May 17th, 2016    Author:

Talking about death is something most people prefer not to do. According to the coalition Dying Matters, over 70% of people don’t feel comfortable talking about death and less than a third have discussed their end-of-life wishes with loved ones.

It’s something that Dying Matters – which promotes awareness of dying, death and bereavement – would like to see change. Its annual Awareness Week held each May aims to get people talking about a subject that they’d normally shy away from. As well as opening up the discussion about death, Dying Matters also wants to encourage everyone to think about how they could improve their own end-of-life experience when it comes – perhaps by planning their future care, making a will or writing down their funeral wishes.

One place where mortality is openly discussed is the new breed of Death Cafes, which started springing up in the UK a few years ago. The idea behind the cafés was to create an environment where talking about death was natural and comfortable. Over tea and cake, people can chat about all sorts of death-related topics – such as cremation versus burial, what makes the perfect death, how to choose a coffin – without being viewed as morbid or macabre.

Death Cafes are held in all sorts of places, including cemeteries and people’s homes. The nearest Death Cafe is currently in Bedford, or you might like to set up your own. For details, go to http://deathcafe.com/

At Austin’s we understand the importance of talking. We’re here to help guide you through the funeral process and answer any questions you may have. And if someone has just died, our 24-hour service means we are able to support you immediately, at this most difficult time. To discuss your funeral needs, please contact us on 01438 794420.