Most people go to great lengths to avoid talking about their own death or the death of loves ones. It can seem callous, unsentimental and even greedy to discuss end of life planning with our families and so to avoid conflict, we skirt the subject entirely which can leave us unprepared for death and all it’s messiness.
Opening channels for positive discussion surrounding death; funeral arrangements, end-of-life wishes, wills, organ donation and power-of-attorney, is the motivation behind the Before I Die Festival, held recently in Indianapolis.
Normalizing discussion of death can help people make plans without fear of appearing morbid, celebrating their lives while making plans for the best death possible. Without an advanced directive, families struggle to make the right choice during a medical emergency, often putting loved-ones through unnecessary suffering while incurring costs that may do little to extend a life worth living.
Festival participants are also encouraged to write down their Before I Die bucket list of things they hope to accomplish in the time they have remaining. The event also features films, book talks and art displays related to death and dying.
Gatherings like the festival are gaining acceptable as a “death positive” movement starts to catch on around the world. Death Cafés and Death Salons provide opportunities for scholars and those with enterprises related to death to interact. Featuring artistic urns, “Ask a Mortician” sessions and death midwife information, the salons brings people together who want to discuss death openly. To learn more about the Death Movement, visit www.deathcafe.com or www.deathsalon.org .