By Raegan Drew, Funeral Director

In this week’s In it together podcast, I’m joining Yasmin Evans along with Malin Andersson, formerly of Love Island, to discuss why it’s so hard to talk about death.

Saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy. Everyone grieves differently, but over the past few months we’ve had to watch our families face incredibly difficult situations with restrictions and social distancing measures. Not being able to hug your friends or family when you need comfort, or even be able to say goodbye to someone properly is incomprehensible, but a sad reality for some.

In our Nation in Mourning media report, we estimate that 9.7 million mourners have been denied the right to say goodbye during lockdown, and we anticipate a grief pandemic on the horizon. During this episode, we discuss the grieving process, how it’s important to be aware of how you’re feeling and how you can seek help if you are struggling.

Talking about death

Death is a normal and natural part of life, so I believe it’s important to have open conversations with your loved ones. Let them know what your last wishes are, as it can help bring them some peace of mind at the time of arranging funeral.

It’s not an easy topic to discuss, but in the podcast I shared some ways in which you can help bring up the subject of a loved ones funeral without coming across insensitive.

For instance, music is a great opening to lightly discuss the subject of a funeral. If a song comes on, you can let someone know about a song you’d like to be played at your funeral, and it can open a dialogue to find out what they would like.

We also discussed how different cultures deal with death and celebrate the lives of their loved ones, and what seems to be the typical ‘British’ way of conducting a funeral.

Breaking the stereotypes

I talk about my job and death so openly and publicly because as a young woman, I feel responsible to encourage my peers to talk about it. It’s the one thing in life that is certain, so let’s not shy away from it or pretend it won’t happen.

No-one knows what the future holds, and I want to encourage people to plan a funeral for the unique life they lived. These conversations don’t have to be sad, it should be about what makes you happy and how can that be reflected in a service.

I’d love us all to break the stereotype of what a traditional funeral is. Celebrate the lives of your loved ones in a way that is special, unique and reflects their personality. Everyone is different and if we begin to open the conversation about death, we can celebrate the lives of our loved ones in a much more personal way.

I hope you enjoy this episode. You can listen now by streaming on personal devices via Apple, Spotify and on Acast. If you’ve enjoyed my episode, please feel free to share it with your social networks via Social Hub too!

Next week, Iain Ferguson is joined by Anita Rani from BBC to discuss plastics, and whether plastic is really that bad.