"Though every one will attempt in thier own way to postpone such questions and issues until they are forced to face them, one will only be able to change things if one can start to conceive of their own death. This cannot be done on a mass level. This has to be done by every human being alone. Each one of us has the need to avoid this issue, yet each one of us has to face it sooner or later. If all of us could make a start by contemplating the possibility of our own personal death, we may effect many things, most important of all the welfare of our patients, our families, and finally perhaps our nation -
We may achieve PEACE - our own inner peace as well as peace between nations - by facing and accepting the reality of our own death.

- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, MD
On Death and Dying, 1967, 2014.

“For all our progress, we still die, and most of us have an awkward relationship with that reality. We have trouble talking about it. It is scary and uncomfortable… The development and application of our communication skills can help us to navigate challenging relationships in health care both with patients and with their loved ones. If we wade into the emotional and experiential complexity of the individual situation by watching and listening and by being willing to talk about difficult subjects, we can learn who these people are, what they are going through, and what they need from us. We have a responsibility to do the right thing, and the path to figuring out what that means is found by building relationships and trust. It is work, and it is worth it.”

- Timothy Gillian, MD
“Talking About Death,” 2017.

"Although avoiding communication about death has negative repercussions, engaging in it has many benefits. For example, talking about death may help people work through their fears and better understand what they want during end-of-life and also make one ’s care preferences known to others. It might also make people aware of end-of-life services, like palliative care and hospice -
Having MORE conversations about death makes it less hard to take.”

- Andrea Lambert South, et al
“Contradictions and Promise for End-of-Life Communication among Family and Friends: Death over Dinner Conversations,”2017.

“Discussions about end-of-life values, wishes, and beliefs are critical for effective advance care. New strategies are needed to engage individuals in end-of-life conversations."

- Lauren Jodi Van Scoy, et al
“Conversation Game Effectively Engages Groups of Individuals in Discussions about Death and Dying,” 2016.


Justine (aged 10):
“I think if children talked more about it, it would be better, because if someone dies that you know you’re going to be really upset, and if you’ve never talked about it, it would be harder for you.”

Lottie (also 10):
"Yeah, because you can talk about death as a celebration of life, and talk about life and death together. They tell children all about life and how you are born but not about dying. It would be better to talk about dying.”

"The dead are more present in society now than ever before, particularly in the media… death is becoming social not anti-social, public not private, fashionable not fearful, death is the focus of a new permissiveness. Death is 'in'... Literature, art, science and philosophy all attest to the importance of this topic, attempting on humanity’s behalf to explore and uncover the possible truths, meanings and practicalities of death. Clearly, death is a ubiquitous part of human existence, and our understanding of, and approaches to it are continually changing. However, our thoughts, impressions and inspirations are predominantly constructed and viewed through the experiences and perspectives of adults.”

- Sarah Coombs
“Death Wears a T-shirt – Listening to Young People Talk About Death,” 2014
©2019 Angela Fama