Let's talk about death

Dr Mannix spent her medical career working with people who have incurable, advanced illnesses. In her talk at Hay today, she challenged the “taboo” of death.  She said it’s important to give each other permission to talk about death. By confronting the process it allows us to plan and have those frank and open conversations with relatives about our wishes.

She also talked about the importance of taking time to have a “cup of tea”. She said that’s what turns a “consultation into a conversation”.

In a considered manner, she took the audience through the process of dying and reassured them that it really is a “gentle” process.

She also said it’s important to use the correct terminology of dying and death rather than soft euphemisms so all of us, including children, get used to the idea of death, which is just a “biological process.”

She discussed research which indicated that it's important for children to have “closure” when faced with death in the family.  She said it is important to “stage manage” the process, so they have an “opportunity to say goodbye”.  However, if they are “reluctant, don’t push them” but if they are “curious, invite their curiosity”.

Her advice to the audience was also that “it’s never too late to have a ceremony in place of a funeral you didn’t get to…it can be incredibly healing”.

If you are interested in more events like this, please also see Event 364 at 10am on Sunday 2 June.

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Picture by Chris Athanasiou