As the first Halloween costumes have started to appear in the aisles of your favourite shop, countless parents all over the country wonder how to best dress their toddlers in a skeleton costume for All Saints’ Eve. There is only one day of the year when people are comfortable talking about death, and it is during Halloween’s night. But, death is a lot more than a costume. The Day of the Dead in the Mexican culture is a celebration of the human cycle of life. As anything that is born will inevitably die, Mexicans celebrate their loved ones during the multi-day holiday. Many wear heavily decorated skull makeup as the festivities are dedicated to the Lady of the Dead.
It seems odd, in comparison, that our Western culture can’t quite get its head around death. There is a lot to be said for embracing it as a natural part of life. But more importantly, it should be part of your conversations and plans with your family.
You want to plan what happens
As much as nobody likes to think of their own passing, you can’t afford to ignore how it will affect your relatives. Too many families are left struggling to cope with the costs and organisation of funerals at a time where they are not emotionally ready to handle new responsibilities. That’s precisely why the team at Philips Trust recommends to plan your funeral as early as possible. Indeed, the cost of funerals has been rising dramatically – almost 70% over the past decade – in the past few years. It’s fair to say that without adequate planning, your family will be left in a difficult financial situation. On the other hand, a pre-paid plan can provide the peace of mind your relatives need to focus on their feelings.
Helping kids to understand is crucial
Mourning is never easy. For children, however, it can be made more difficult, as death is an entirely new concept for them. As a result, many parents are unsure about how to tell their children that their beloved Grandad has passed. As a parent, your role is not to ease the news to them but to make sure that they can grasp what it means. Phrases such as “Grandad has gone to the stars” might be your preferred option, but children don’t understand images. They need clear words. More importantly, they need someone who can answer their questions patiently and with kindness. Explaining death is difficult, but the more complex and taboo you make it for children, the harder it will be for them to cope.
Death has a long shadow
Perhaps family attitudes towards death have influenced your behaviour. Indeed, for a lot of adults, the prospect of dying is something they don’t want to think or talk about. As a result, palliative visits can become unnecessarily painful. You might want to take a look at this palliative care nurse who has made it his goal to bring joy to those who are at the end of their lives. Indeed, the fear of death often creates a gap between the sick and the living, making it hard for families to build an environment of love during the last days of their relative.
There is nothing morbid about accepting that life needs to end. As you can’t avoid it, the best you can do is to prepare yourself and your family as well as you can. Ultimately, making peace with death is all about celebrating life.