Skip to content
3 May 2024

Starting the Conversation: Rethinking How We Talk About Death

When was the last time you had a conversation about death? For many of us, it's a topic we'd rather avoid.

This week it’s Dying Matters Week and it’s a time to reconsider how we approach discussions about the end of life.

Take a moment to reflect on how you currently talk about death. Are these conversations comfortable or awkward? Do you feel equipped to support loved ones through their final days? And perhaps most importantly, how would you like to talk about death in the future?

Here are some hints and tips to help you get the conversation going:

  1. Create a Safe Space: Choose a quiet, comfortable environment where everyone feels at ease. Avoid distractions and give each person the opportunity to speak openly and honestly.
  2. Start Small: You don’t have to dive into the deep end right away. Begin by sharing your own thoughts and feelings about death, and invite others to do the same. Remember, it’s okay to take things one step at a time.
  3. Ask Open-Ended Questions: Instead of asking yes or no questions, try asking open-ended questions that encourage deeper reflection. For example, “What are your hopes and fears about the end of life?” or “How would you like to be remembered?”
  4. Listen with Empathy: It’s important to listen to others without judgment or interruption. Validate their feelings and offer support where needed. Remember, sometimes the greatest comfort comes from simply being heard.

At St Michael’s Hospice, we understand the importance of these conversations. Our goal is to empower individuals and their families to talk openly about death and dying, creating a supportive environment where everyone’s wishes are respected.

So, as we acknowledge Dying Matters Awareness Week, let’s challenge ourselves to rethink how we talk about death. By embracing open and honest conversations, we can build a future where everyone feels heard, supported, and valued until the very end.

Take the Talking Matters quiz!

Take this short quiz to find out how 1,000 recently bereaved people in the UK feel about language and communication at the end of life, based on their experiences – and be prepared to be surprised.

Sign up now to hear about how we care for families across Herefordshire and beyond and how you can help