The Big Conversation

Natalie Cole, DJ ED ‘Stewpot’ Stewart, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey,  Sir Terry Wogan, Tony Warren, George Martin, Paul Daniels, Ronnie Corbett, Denise Robertson, David Gest, Doris Roberts, Victoria Wood, Prince… to name a few…

It seems rare for a month to pass in 2016 without news of a celebrity death being reported.  We openly discuss these deaths with friends and family so why is it that so many of us are reluctant or find it difficult to talk about our own deaths, or those of the people we care about? Research shows that more than half of us do not know the endoflife wishes of the person we sat next to last night watching the television.

We hear about death nearly every day, yet most of us would rather walk away than confront a conversation about our own or our loved ones.

So why is the subject of our own death or those close to us so taboo?

In the Victorian era, especially in London, death was openly debated. The standard of life then was much lower with the average life expectancy being around 48 years.

During this time people understood that they had little time left to live a life and they confronted and talked about mortality, operations and medicine as those around them died.

Nowadays people can expect to live into the high 90s however, now the lifespan has increased, we tend not to talk about it.

The annual Dying Matters Week promotes planning and speaking openly about your own plans for death with those close to you.  If you have certain wishes you would like carried out when you die, such as whether you want to be buried or cremated, whether you have a favourite song you would like at your funeral, if no-one knows about these, your wishes will not be carried out.

The Dying Matters website has a wealth of information on end of life from starting the conversations to practical steps for planning for death.  The website can be accessed at

During Dying Matters Week you can join the Big Conversation on Twitter

Every day from 1.00 – 2.00 pm between 9th – 15th May they will be holding a Tweetchat on a different theme relating to the end of life and bereavement.

Whether you’re a professional working in the field, someone with personal experience, or you have a question connected to dying, death and bereavement, please join in using the hashtag #BigConversation.

Twitter chat schedule

Monday 9 May: The importance of making a funeral plan

Tuesday 10 May: Planning for your future care and support

Wednesday 11 May: The importance of making a will

Thursday 12 May: Signing up as an organ donor

Friday 13 May: Making sure your loved ones know your plans

Saturday 14 May and Sunday 15 May: Your choice – chat about anything and everything related to dying, death and bereavement.

To join in, just log in into your Twitter account and carry out a search for the hashtag #BigConversation. You might also like to follow Dying Matters, at or on Facebook

Talking about death isn’t easy but you should tell your loved ones your wishes and share your plans, if you have written these down tell your family where they are kept.

For more information: Dying Matters at or call 0800 021 4466.