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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

It’s time to get dead set and get your affairs in order

National Dying to Know Day on Monday, 8 August

by Shanna Provost

National Dying to Know Day (D2K Day) on 8 August each year is a time when we face what we’ve been avoiding all year long. Shanna Provost, a death literacy advocate and creator of the Rest Easy Tools has been supporting the Groundswell Project’s D2K day since its inception in 2013, running Death Cafes, ‘Paint your own Coffin’ workshops, Dying to Know expos, forums and information days, Let’s Talk About Death radio shows and, pre-COVID, performed a one-woman show titled What Dee Dee’s Dying to Know.

And this year she is even more concerned about people’s apathy around planning for a healthy end of life.

“A healthy end of life is what happens to us before and after our death”, says Provost.

The bushfires and COVID have shown us the precarious nature of our existence. I’ve stopped counting the number of people I have known who have died in the past 18 months, and four people who have touched my life have gone just in the past four weeks—and they were all younger than me.

It’s time for us as a culture to stop denying death. In the end it will only hurt the ones we love the most.

A recent study commissioned by The Groundswell Project Australia, reveals that while nine in ten Australians believe it is important to do some end-of-life planning, only one in three have actually taken action.

“Shoving your head in the sand and denying your mortality won’t help those you love. The bottom line is, if you want an end of life that reflects your values and who you are/were to the world, you really have to plan it. Your dying doesn’t take care of itself – someone will have to do the work.”

If you think Provost sounds a bit jaded, you’d be right. She freely admits that the years of trying to convince people to get their affairs in order has been exhausting, and witnessing the fallout of inaction is distressing.

“As a funeral celebrant I hear harrowing stories from families left to sort out their loved one's affairs in their time of grief. I was recently told about a family that had to spend $33,000 out of the deceased’s estate to have their mother’s belongings cleaned out and sent to the tip. She was a hoarder, and the family simply felt overwhelmed at trying to clean up after her.

That’s not the type of legacy I intend to leave, and even though I intend to be around for a while, I held a garage sale on the weekend to downsize my belongings. I sent a before and after photo and text to my son saying, ‘This is my gift to you’. He was grateful for the effort I had put in for his sake. I know how exhausted I was trying to shed my own clutter, so I can’t imagine how that might be for grieving families who have to hold down jobs and busy lifestyles and plan and attend funerals to have to do it.

Eurobodalla Council is hosting three FREE workshops at each of its libraries next week where Provost will provide simple tools and insights to help people to start to get their affairs in order.

Narooma Library: 2--3 0pm on Monday 8 August Moruya Library: 11am – 12.30pm on Tuesday 9 August

Batemans Bay Library: 3-4pm on Tuesday 9 August.

Tickets are limited and bookings are essential to ensure a COVID-safe environment. For more information and how to register go to



NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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