This week I rang my old optometrist as I am due for an eye check. I hadn’t been for a while. When his office manager asked me what I was doing these days I mentioned that, among other things related to end of life advocacy, I was also a funeral celebrant.
Her response: “Oh! I’ll keep that in mind!” So, given her seemingly positive response to my occupation, I offered to send her my newly minted brochure on arranging a loved one’s funeral when the responsibility falls to you.
“Oh, no!”, she exclaimed, “Don’t put the mozz on me!”
This attitude no longer surprises me. I am well aware of the number of people who range from those who prefer not to have conversations about death to those who figuratively or literally stick their fingers in their ears and go, “la la la la la!” until they know I have changed topics.
Each to their own.
However, amongst the many lessons and gifts I have received doing this work, there is one stand out.
When people who have a strong negative reaction to talking about death in their everyday life, experience the death of a loved one… the impact is way worse in my experience. Denying or pushing down the notion that we will all die creates greater shock, denial and anger responses than in those who have, at the very least, consciously acknowledged that they are indeed mortal.
I hear these death adverse people say things like, “I can’t believe this has happened!”, “I never thought my Mum would die!”, “How can this happen?” in response to people in the 80+ age range dying. There are certainly times when these questions are reasonably asked: the death of babies, children or teens or unusual circumstances can generate these questions.
According to the World Bank, the average life expectancy in Australia is 84.25 years. So if you or someone you love live longer than that – that’s fantastic. But 10 out of 10 of us will die. That is the reality of birth. That at some point after we’re born, we die. Being “mozzed” has nothing to do with when or how you die!
Talking about death, according to a U.S. based death care advocate, won’t make you dead just like talking about sex won’t make you pregnant.
So, if you are ready to acknowledge your mortality you might like to receive the brochure I mentioned earlier. Simply email me you full name and address and I’ll pop one in the post for you! The brochure offers a simple, step by step guide to arranging a funeral.
My hope is: you won’t need it. My offer is: if you do, I am here to help!
We have just one life…
Independent Funeral Services & Information | Life Story Collector & Writer | End of Life Tributes | Easier End of Life Experiences | Funeral Arrangements and Celebrancy
Just One Life… doing and designing dying and death differently and with dignity and distinction.
For more information on doing dying and death differently or to start thinking about how to handle a death of a loved one before you are overtaken by grief, organise a conversation with Jacqui today.
Call +61 (0)412 741 531 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacqui Chaplin is a Lifetime & End-of-Life Commemoration Specialist (a funeral celebrant among other things) based in Melbourne, Australia. She loves capturing stories about the nature of life and being human, as well as, celebrating and commemorating well lived lives and lives that have ended. Jacqui has a passion for bringing the conversations that many of us find difficult to think about, let alone speak about, out in the open so we can see how our stories, values and beliefs influence our attitudes.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
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