“People study for weeks for a birth. Why not study for a death?”
So says the opening line from the beautiful but sadly, little-known Australian book, Dying to know: Bringing death to life.
We are alarmingly disconnected from death in our Western secular culture. Dying to Know Day (D2KD) is an annual day of action dedicated to bringing to life conversations and community actions around death, dying and bereavement. D2KD is on the 8th of August each year in Australia. It was started in 2013 by Kerrie Noonan, Founder of Groundswell, an organisation dedicated to bringing about social and cultural change around death, dying and bereavement. A national day of action provides a way for people to share knowledge and become better equipped to deal with death. She named D2KD after the book; wanting to bring the messages in this book to the attention of all of us.
“Why do some cultures have elders and others have the elderly?”
On the 8th of August each year, Kerrie encourages us to organise an event in our local community and/or take a personal action such as writing your will or having a conversation with a loved one. This year there were over 65 events around Australia.
So this year 4 of us decided to host a Dying To Know Day Event in our local community of Gawler, South Australia. Check out our flyer and photos. Thirty people came along for an action packed evening. We screened a film called Tender, which is about Community Funerals in Port Kembla. We shared some research on 10 facts about death and dying in Australia. We launched our pilot Before I Die … Wall. We ended with a Death Café. Three copies of the Dying to Know: Bringing death to life book were given away as the much sought after raffle prizes.
Some comments from the feedback sheets give an indication it was an evening well spent:
o “Made me more interested in being buried, in particular in an eco-friendly manner.”
o “I will be making more of the time I have left.”
o “Enlightening, informative, comforting.”
o “Well presented. Not an easy subject to discuss and express.”
o “Made me think about the funeral process in a different light and also made me realise I have options.”
o “This is a must attend event!”
What is YOUR 1 personal action for this year to improve your death literacy?
Did you know:
o 9 out of 10 of us never tell anyone their end-of-life wishes.
o 45% of us die without a will.
o 80% of us wish to die at home. 20% do.