I live and breathe death because of the job that I do, working with the families of people who have been murdered. My kids have been brought up with me being very open about it, so to me it wasn’t a problem to have these conversations. My husband and I are very open about what we want in case of death and illness, and my kids are like that as well.
My husband’s a police officer. At first he wasn’t quite as open as me, but he is now. We just talk about it – we all know it’s inevitable. It’s very easy for me to talk about death, however some people have struggled with how open I am.
My friends and I have discussed what we want at our funerals. One night I got together with the girls and we talked about it. We’ve got a sort of funeral book where we write down the songs we want. I’ve also discussed it with my husband and children, so everybody knows what I want if something goes wrong through illness or accident.
I want the cheapest possible funeral, and for it to be non-religious. I don’t want people to wear black, I want it to be a celebration of me being here, rather than a sad occasion because I’m not here anymore.
My will is very explicit about what I want. I made one when I was single, but I recently got re-married so made another one.
I don’t want a gravestone. Maybe a tree, or a rose bush. I’ve also got specific places where I want my ashes scattering that mean something to me. I’d like to be remembered for being a good person who helped others throughout my life.
If I was told I only had a few weeks to live, I know that my finances would be in order because I’ve got a critical illness policy and life insurance through work. I wouldn’t be afraid to tell people I was going to die, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to them.
I’m not frightened of dying. Because I spend a lot of time with people who’ve been bereaved and experienced trauma, I can answer some of their questions better than a lot of people. But while I’m not scared of dying itself, I am scared of leaving people behind.
The most important thing I’d want my family and friends to know is that I love them. I’m very much the sort of person who wears their heart on their sleeve, and the people that I love genuinely do know that I love them.
Dying Matters Awareness Week, the national campaign to encourage people to talk about dying, death and bereavement will run from 11 – 17 of May, 2020.