After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, many people are expressing their surprise at how sad they feel. Shared grief is a common experience, often after the death of someone famous or who has been in the public eye for a long time.
The Queen of course was both of these, an internationally identifiable icon for over 70 years. Even the most staunch Republicans have been expressing their respect for her longevity and consistency through many tumultuous times.
Working to support those experiencing grief, Living Memorial would like to take this opportunity to encourage wider discussions about death and dying. As a culture, we often shy away from this topic, as it can be undoubtedly difficult.
In fact, by being more open about our thoughts and feelings about the end of life, funerals and even finances, we can help people to have much more successful experiences. Here are five really important conversations we recommend you have with those closest to you, perhaps linking to the State Funeral on Monday as a starting point:
1. Make a Will, and make sure people know where the copy is. Discuss the contents of it if you wish to, with those it will impact. Your solicitor may also offer to keep a copy for you, as a security measure.
2. Discuss your funeral wishes. Do you have a favourite song, piece of music, photograph or poem? Would you prefer a traditional funeral or a celebration of life? While the event may be many years away, talking about our feelings and favourites can really help our loved ones when the time comes.
3. Check who is listed as the beneficiary of your pension. Private or work pensions are sometimes set up so many years ago, that the person you listed may no longer be appropriate.
4. Consider a Power of Attorney, there are two available. One covers your Health and one your Finances. They are currently £82 to register. For more information you can use the Government website.
5. Consider a Letter of Wishes, this can be kept with your Will and is a less formal (not legally binding) expression of what you would like to be done after you have died. This might include specific items you would like to be given to particular individuals, or a bench you'd like to be put in a local park etc.