The old saying has it that there are only two certainties in life – death and taxes.
While we’re only too ready to moan about what the government takes from our hard-earned pay, opening up on the subject of dying is much more difficult for many of us.
Of course we’ll all die at some point, yet facing up to that inescapable fact is still something we try to avoid.
So we welcome the national GraveTalk initiative by the Church of England, which was launched in Portsmouth earlier this year, that aims to stop death being a taboo subject and get us to open up about subjects ranging from funerals to grief and what we think heaven will look like if and when we get there.
The aim is to get people involved in informal discussions over a bite of lunch, prompted by a set of questions devised by Rev Belinda Davies, vicar of St George’s Church in Portsea, and now being used nationally.
Facing up to our own mortality, openly discussing our feelings and making sure others know our wishes when the time comes to depart are all important aspects that should be talked about.
But too often people would rather not mention the subject as they find it awkward and uncomfortable. This can lead to people nearing the end of their lives feeling fearful and isolated, while those left behind have nothing to guide them on matters such as the kind of funeral a loved one would have wanted.
It sounds simple, but the church’s message is that death should be embraced as part of life. By talking openly about it, we can remove the myths and misconceptions that often surround it.
For too long, death has been regarded as taboo. It’s time to bring it out into the open and GraveTalk is a great start.