How Funeral Planning Can Help Calm the Fear of Death

Death is one of the few inevitabilities of life, but it is something that is often feared and not spoken about. Over the ages the dying process and death have been feared to one extent or another, as science and technology have evolved our approach to death and funerals is also evolving. Knowledge and the ability to plan is helping to drive a shift away from death being a forbidden topic and something to fear. Some people are beginning to embrace their mortality and finding that planning for their death and funeral actual makes the dying process less scary both for themselves and their family.

Fear of Death: A Brief History

Even as far back as ancient times every culture had their own approach to death. Some cultures such as ancient Egyptians and Chinese believed in the soul and an afterlife, whereas Greek mythology shows that death was greatly feared. During the Middle Ages fear of death grew, particularly in Europe, where medical care was rudimentary in comparison to today and loved ones suffered long, painful, often harrowing deaths at home due to disease. 

From the 14th Century onwards there has been a steady shift away from religion in some communities, and an increasingly scientific approach toward death and dying. Into the modern age science, medicine, hospitals, and dedicated palliative care have greatly reduced the suffering of death. With a solid medical base and effective pain relief death can be a peaceful experience both for the person that is dying and their loved ones. 

Science and Fear of Death

Of course, people die suddenly, there are road traffic and other accidents as well as unexpected medical deaths, however, for those people with a terminal diagnosis there can be time to either develop a fear of death or make peace with the end of life. Medical advances mean that professionals have the greatest ever understanding of the human body, they can use scans and tests to make accurate diagnoses and predictions of life expectancy. 

As they say, knowledge is power. Being given a terminal diagnosis and life expectancy is a scary experience for everyone involved, and it is true to say that each individual will handle the situation differently. However, experienced medical professionals that can explain what is likely to happen over the coming weeks, months, or even years, and how suffering will be minimised can help to allay fears. Being given the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers from trusted professionals is also an advance of modern times that is helping to reduce the fear of dying. 

Talking About Death

In the modern world there are many opportunities to discuss death and it is never too early to do so. Whether watching a TV program or film dealing with the subject, reading a book, opting to donate blood, discussing organ donation, or dealing with the death of a family member or friend finding an opportunity to discuss your thoughts around death is an important step in allaying the fear of dying. Ensuring that your loved ones understand your last wishes is a positive first step. Some things to discuss include: 

  • Organ donation
  • Burial or cremation 
  • Type of funeral service
  • Beneficiaries from your estate 
  • Care of children and/or pets where appropriate 

Feeling confident that your loved ones know, understand, and will carry out your last wishes is an important step in removing the fear of dying. Alongside medical professionals you can utilise the services of other professionals such as a funeral director, officiant to pre-plan your funeral, or solicitor to write a will to help confirm the plans and ensure that they are executed as per your requirements. Taking these steps can also remove concerns about the burden on family and friends in making these decisions and organising your affairs. 

Steve has recently started a podcast that you may like to listen to. Yes, a podcast about death and grief. This is a positive step toward normalising the topic and helping people to begin that all important conversation, face their fears, and make plans for their death. 

Don’t wait until you have a terminal diagnosis, or it is too late, taking steps to face the fear is something that every adult should consider. 

Funeral Planning to Alleviate Fear

Many funeral directors, as well as celebrants such as Steve, and other types of funeral officiants provide the option to pre-plan a funeral. You can pre-plan and pay for the logistics with a funeral director, such as your requirement to be cremated or buried, booking a plot, choosing a coffin, and noting other last wises. Pre-planning your funeral service with Steve, provides an in-depth option to clarify details of the service including where it will be held, the content such as music, poetry, who you would like to speak, you can discuss the type of service and provide photographs, videos, and other content. 

Steve offers the option to pre-plan your funeral service for free when he is nominated as the officiant. He will also gather information from family and friends in accordance with your wishes, enabling him to completely personalise the service. Many previous clients remark in reviews that it was like Steve knew the deceased. It is his dedication to level of detail and in-depth conversations with family, friends, and the deceased prior to their death, where possible, that allows him to speak as though he did indeed personally know the person. 

Talking About Dying

It is vital that the topic of death is normalised, it is after all going to happen to all of us. Funeral planning can help to alleviate some of the fears surrounding death. Whether you are dying, or it is a general fear, there are professionals that you can speak with to help you to face those fears and plan for when it does happen. Your GP can help by providing access to counselling, or you can speak with Steve who will be able to provide information about local private counselling options. 

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