In the realm of end-of-life education, two terms come up very often: death denial and fear of death. We talk about fear of death and death denial as kind-of the same thing and we use the terms interchangeably. But are they really? I’m wondering if the varying ways that people think about and respond to the coronavirus pandemic, shed some light on the differences between the two terms.
When you die, how will your absence affect the people, places and things in your world?
That is one of a half-dozen questions that WILLOW uses as a warm-up exercise before people dive into writing their Heart Will.
For those of you who’ve perused the WILLOW website, or have first-hand experience with WILLOW services, you may have noticed that we’re obsessed with questions. What’s the point of asking so many questions? (Heehee, there’s another one…)
Our goal is for you to use end-of-life planning as your pathway to live your life to your fullest—whether you have days or decades left to live. By asking thought-provoking, juicy questions, WILLOW helps you gain some heightened or fresh awareness about your core values and who and what matter most.
Can it be that simple?
Do you just need to answer some questions, and viola, self-awareness? Unfortunately not. Answering the questions helps, but it’s not the whole story. If you were to answer that same question five times over say, five months, you’d probably answer it differently each time. The question is an inquiry, and the answers can come in many forms and through many guises.
Sometimes we’ll guide you to share your answers aloud with someone else in the group and sometimes we’ll invite you to write out the answer in your journals or on your device. We also ask people to notice what goes on in their body when they’re reading or answering the questions. We sometimes answer questions through drawing.
Contemplating our death is a pathway for cultivating self awareness.
All your responses are signals to you. Everything you think, feel, write, scribble, or say, tells you something about yourself. The more you know about yourself, the more likely you are to live your life the way you choose and to be cared for at the end of your life and after death in a way that reflects your life and your choices.
Writing lasting messages to those you love and for future generations, thinking about and planning for how you would like to be cared for before and after you die, and choosing what happens to your assets, and what kind of legacy you want to leave, are huge issues.
For most people, end-of-life planning consists of filling out forms and checking boxes. If you do that without getting to know you, you are missing out on a great opportunity that can bring you clarity, joy, a sense of purpose, and closer connection to the people who are significant in your life.
If you haven’t started writing or feel there’s more to say, consider diving into the self-reflection and writing process at our upcoming Legacy, Love Letters + Heart Wills retreat in Mexico! Join us from October 29 to November 4, 2018 and experience the day of the Dead in San Jose del Cabo.
What about you?
What kind of end-of-life planning have you done and what did you learn about yourself?
Please join the discussion at the bottom of this blog. We’d love to hear from you.