There will come a time in our lives when we will need care through illness, at the end of life and in bereavement. In 2016, we asked almost 3,000 people in Ireland what is needed for a good death and healthy grieving. Our People’s Charter on Dying, Death and Bereavement is the result.
It tell us there is a real appetite to embrace conversations and equip the Irish people with the language, tools and opportunities to open up and feel safe to share their thoughts and concerns about dying, death and bereavement.
Here is what some of them said:
“We don’t talk about death enough. People should encourage each other to share their wishes and perhaps put them in writing too.”
“I think the charter is a very sensible and caring idea. Society needs to talk about such issues more openly.”
“The Charter is very necessary and will help create discussions about death and dying. When my parents were dying we all knew but it was never named. I wish I could have told them many things before they died. But it was not encouraged.“
“I should like to promote more discussion about living and dying in general, we seem to know more about whose going to play for Ireland in the next match than we do about what to do when we get news that some loved one is terminally ill. We have endless discussions about team strategy for instance rather than coping strategies around illness and death.”
What we are doing with our charter:
We use it to inform all the work we do. We want to help people become more used to thinking about and talking about dying, death and bereavement; to help them find the right words, to enable more people to Think Ahead and provide tools and information to encourage, enable and support these vital conversations.
You can help too by:
- Being Death Literate
It’s important to use the right words when talking about dying, death and bereavement. Using the right words means there is no confusion over what has been said, especially when we’re talking to children. There is no easy way to talk about death, so it is simpler to just say; ‘They are dead’, ‘They died’, ‘They are dying’. Although we cannot soften death, we can get involved in positive conversations, rituals and actions to help and support each other through difficult times.
- Talk to those important to you before it is too late.
Talking won’t take away our problems but the old adage of a problem shared is a problem halved is often true. We want to encourage people to talk to one another before it becomes too difficult. We want you to be able to use your voice, your thoughts and understand that they matter. Our Think Ahead form is very useful for starting a conversation.
- Host a workshop or become a Think Ahead Community Champion. For more information, please email [email protected]