Community Links co-founder Kevin Jenkins says death must be talked about


- Credit: Archant

Ironically, given it is the one thing we all have in common, death is, for the vast majority of us, something you just don’t think or talk about, let alone plan for.

Death has different responses, meaning, traditions and interpretation across different religions, cultures and communities. For most individuals though, death remains a taboo subject.

Government research indicates that 25 per cent of all deaths are sudden and research by the Omega Foundation suggests that 49pc of all deaths are unexpected. Research by Will Aid found that 52pc of adults living in the UK have no form of will.

The absence of any pre-death discussion or planning, sadly often results in further grief and anxiety for the family and friends who are already trying to deal with the personal loss and the associated emotions.

All sorts of thoughts and concerns, ranging from knowing the type of send- off the deceased would have wanted to how will I survive financially in the future, just add to the personal grief, emotional turmoil and loss being experienced.

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There is an increasing movement across all faiths and cultures to break this taboo.

There are increasing opportunities for individuals to participate in compassionate engagement activities including end of life care education, funeral planning, will writing, public engagement art projects i.e. before I die wall, death cafes, a “when dying matters” awareness week in May each year and undertakers, such as Manor Park’s Compassionate Funerals, actively encouraging and supporting planning for death.

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A small and developing cross faith group of Newham organisations is planning Newham’s first death awareness-raising event in November.

If you would like further information or to contribute, please contact me c/o The Recorder.

Better planning for death will help make it so much easier for your family and friends to celebrate your life and to move on in this life. More from Kevin

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