Today I was fortunate to attend a free workshop in my town presented by Zen Virago director of The Natural Death Centre in Byron Bay NSW. The 6 hour workshop opened my eyes to the seemingly hidden business of death and funerals. Zen’s method is what I’d term ‘holistic management’ of the dying, death and disposal process. She presented the information in a way that was respectful, sensitive yet ultimately matter of fact. She sees no value in attempting to discretely shroud words like ‘is dead’ and ‘has died’ with PC failures like ‘departed this life’ or ‘gone to a better place’ . It was raised by other locals in attendance that this only makes things worse when using these ambiguous terms when informing children about a death as language can cause great confusion and anxiety. It was agreed that we need to tell it like it is – tell the truth.
So I completed the day feeling much more relaxed and confident about dealing with the funeral process and also understood how important it is to have my own Will, Advanced Care Plan, Enduring Guardian and plans for how I want my body handled and buried. I discovered that you can legally keep a relatives dead body in your home for up to 5 days (if it was a natural death) to allow family to be with the body of their loved one which helps people to process their loss, it also ‘allows the heart to accept what your eyes are seeing’.
A gem that came out of our personal introduction session,was two older women from Guyra said they came because they were very interested in knowing more about subject, yet had told their husbands they were going to town on a shopping spree.
Here is a piece from the website on her workshops:
Death is a natural & sacred end to our lives. We know our deaths are certain, but the time & place after often uncertain. It is sensible & prudent to be prepared, just like we are in other aspects of our lives.This workshop is for you if you would like to:
– Understand & simplify the death & dying process
– Talk with people you love or care for about their needs & wishes, so they are clear & can be followed
– Become more active & involved in what happens before, during & after a death
– Create a more meaningful funeral to honour & celebrate a life lived
– Assist yourself & others to have an easier & healthier bereavement
– Feel more able, useful & confident in the work you do in relation to death & dying, in a community or medical setting.
This workshop was developed to demystify some lies, misconceptions & beliefs around dying, death & funerals & to outline rights & choices in relation to these things. They are designed to empower by providing practical information to help people make considered choices.