I AM writing to say a big thank you to all members of the Dying Matters Coalition and to local residents for their commitment during Dying Matters Awareness Week in May.

This year’s awareness week was the biggest and best yet, with town halls, community groups, hospitals, hospices, care homes, law firms, funeral directors and schools amongst those holding events and activities aimed at raising awareness about the importance of talking more openly about dying, death and bereavement.

With hundreds of members in the local area and 30,000 members across England and Wales, the Dying Matters Coalition is making a real difference by breaking the taboo around discussing dying and future plans, but there’s still a long way to go. That’s why we need a national conversation about dying, so that all of us become more comfortable in facing up to our own mortality and that of the people we are close to.

Dying is one of life’s certainties, but unless we have the conversations that matter we’re unlikely to get the right care and support. Although not always easy, talking about dying is in everyone’s interests, as it can help ensure we get our wishes met and make it easier for our loved ones.

You only die once, which is why it’s so important to make your wishes known while there’s still time. That’s why we’re encouraging people to take practical steps such as writing a will, recording their funeral wishes, planning their future care and support, considering whether they would want to register as an organ donor and, most importantly, telling their loved ones their wishes.

Claire Henry

Chief Executive, Dying Matters Coalition