Why We Need to Talk About Death

Aug 19, 2010 | 1 comment

Judith Johnson’s August 17 column on Huffington Post, titled Why We Need To Talk about Death and Dying, makes a strong case for starting these much-needed conversations. She writes:

Both individually and collectively, we are paying an enormous emotional and financial price for being silenced by our society’s taboo against talking about death and dying. Other societies educate their members about the reality of death and the processes of dying and grieving. We do not. We are left to figure it out for ourselves, relying on doctors and funeral directors to tell us what to do once we are face to face with death. We don’t know what to say, what to do, how to cope or to grieve. Most of us simply let “the experts” lead us around by the nose — too stunned to take charge of the situation ourselves.

Later in the column, she cites this information about funerals and funeral planning:

The average funeral in the U.S., including a cemetery plot and grave, costs between $10,000 and $12,000. Only about 5 percent of Americans preplan their end of life rituals. The rest leave it to their loved ones to figure out while grieving their loss. Bereft family members rely on funeral directors to tell them what to do. Left to second guess what would have been meaningful to the deceased, loved ones typically overspend for fear of not doing enough. Most of us are not even aware of the many less costly and, in many cases, more emotionally gratifying alternatives that are available for saying our final goodbyes.

As I like to say, just as talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, talking about funerals won’t make you dead – and your family will benefit from the conversation. Start a conversation today.

A Good Goodbye