Let’s talk about Death

Contact us to express interest in this free of charge activity.

Days and dates to be confirmed. We hope to hold a session on Tuesday 2 November, to recognise the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday that involves family and friends gathering to pray for and to remember friends and family members who have died.

Why talk about death? Because it is something that will happen to all of us. No matter how much we may want to deny it or prolong the inevitable – death will touch all of us in multiple ways during our life.

For some, coming face to face with death may come as a shock – such as a loved one dying in a car accident. For others, it may be seen as a blessing (although we can sometimes feel somehow guilty for admitting this), as happens when our loved one has died after a lengthy illness.

According to the Australian Centre for Health Research, not talking about death is costing us as a nation. These costs range from the emotional to the financial and centre around not knowing what we, as individuals, want for our end-of-life care, as well as those nearest and dearest to us not knowing. When we are ignorant of what we want, we cannot inform our health carers of our wishes and they cannot assist with our desired outcomes.

The way to remedy this is to have conversations. Conversations that help us work out what we want, in a low stress environment with camaraderie, so that when the time comes and the situation becomes real, we are already prepared.

It is with this in mind that we are starting ‘Let’s talk about death’ sessions at the Ballarat East Neighbourhood House. These will be informal sessions with a cuppa and nibbles where we explore different topics around death and dying. You are invited to submit topics you would like to discuss. Sessions will include Advanced Care Planning; Knowing your Funeral – what you want and rights in getting that (you are allowed to be cremated in a cardboard box if you wish) and Celebrating the Life of our Loved ones now gone.

If we have a diverse multicultural group, it could be interesting to know how other cultures approach and deal with death. We may learn things that we would like to apply to our end of life when we get there.

We will discuss what is important to us, and what’s not so important – do you want to be surrounded by your loved ones, or would you rather be alone when the time comes? Maybe you don’t want to be resuscitated. Does anyone know this? If you were to be travelling overseas and were involved in an accident, would it be important to be brought home for your funeral? Or maybe being cremated and having your ashes sent back is acceptable to you?

It is our intent that we have some laughs as well during these talks. There could be the opportunity to invite specialist guest speakers around particular topics.

Who will lead these conversations? We welcome local Lisa Wood to the Ballarat East Neighbourhood House table.

Lisa has been interested in death for a while, not in a morbid way. She has had the opportunity to travel and see how other countries do death. In 2016, Lisa did her 'Laughter Leader' training and, during training, her teacher told the group about a client and how they used laughter to cope with their terminal illness and impending death. Laughing at the unpronounceable names of the medication provided some relief in a difficult situation. In 2018, Lisa completed her Death Doula training in Melbourne. Little did she know that, 8 months later, she would be caring for her terminally ill father, until his death at the beginning of 2020. He fortunately didn’t have to deal with COVID.

We come into the world surrounded by love, yet we seem to have forgotten the other end. Lisa hopes to see you at our session so that we can remember together.

These conversations will be held at Barkly Square, Barkly Street, Ballarat East.

Find out more about the Death over Dinner movement.

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Photo by Eli Solitas on Unsplash