In this Dying Matters Awareness Week, we’re taking a closer look at what is, generally, a subject none of us like to talk about.

Dying Matters is a coalition that embraces all those organisations that touch the lives of those facing the the thing that most of us fear the most, death. From the NHS to hospices, faith groups to funeral directors, charities to care homes, Dying Matters exists to help people talk more openly about death, to bring about a change in our society in how we face it, plan for it and help those going through it and those left behind.

Within Truro Diocese, you could say death is an inevitable feature of everyday life, birth, marriage and death being a church’s stock in trade. But that doesn’t make it any easier, or any less painful, poignant or a privilege to stand alongside the dying, or the the bereaved.


Dying MattersRevd Howard Flint, of Holy Trinity, St Austell, sees funerals as an essential part of his ministry there. “There cannot be a more significant time to connect with people, to help them through their pain. It’s a time when the church can absolutely stand in the gap, for the dying and the family and friends left behind behind.”

Kevin Grant, recently awarded the St Piran Cross, works part-time for a funeral director in Liskeard and recognises the value of remembering the family after the hiatus of the funeral is over. “I always go back and check on them, to see if anything can be done or just to there so they can have a good cry.”

Dying Matters would like us all to start the conversation, now, before it becomes essential, or too late. That not only means talking about funeral hopes (or fears), financial planning and future care arrangements, but trickier things like organ donations. The ‘Nicholas Effect’ is how the decision of a family to donate the organs of their little boy, brutally killed when on holiday in Italy, led to the tripling in a decade of organ donations in Italy.

Recently reported has been the poignant story of Russell and Wendy, who died of cervical cancer. Russell couldn’t bear the thought of the clinical process that follows a death and so kept his wife at home for six days, inviting friends and family to come and say goodbye. He has said that staying close to a loved one’s dead body is nothing to be scared of, “Death seems to be such a taboo subject in our society, no one seems to want to talk about it. Wendy and I were not like that, we talked about it a lot.”

A good place to start talking about death might be at a Death Café, which is not as morbid as it sounds. It’s a pop-up café that makes itself available for people to come along and talk together about, as they say, “To increase awareness of death to help people make the most of their (finite) lives.” It’s not a grief or counselling session, but a very practical forum to chat with others to find ways to start the conversation – with a cup of tea and cake, obviously. To find out more about them and if there is one popping up near to you, go to their website

To find out how you can begin the conversation got to