Are you dying to know?

DEATH can be scary.

And while it was once an integral part of life, it has now become something of a mystery for many people.

Mary Eleanor Natural Funeral Care – a holistic funeral directive company in Sorell – is hoping to shed some light on death and dying and, in the process, break down barriers and encourage people to start having those difficult conversations.

The company will be hosting a ‘Dying to Know Expo’ next month, held to coincide with National Dying to Know Day on 8 August.

The awareness day is held each year to promote death literacy – how, as people and communities, we can be better at knowing what to do when someone is dying, caring or grieving.

Mary Eleanor Natural Funeral Care holistic funeral director Sandra Bamford said the expo was all about familiarising people with just some of the processes, options and choices around planning and preparing for end of life.

“Years ago, death was such an integral part of life and for many cultures, it still is,” she said.

“But the unknown has crept in and many people fear not knowing what to do when they or a loved one are faced with it, and that is exactly the focus of this expo.

“It’s allowing people to satisfy their curiosity and provide information about end of life – before, during and after – not as funeral directors, but as everyday people. “

“The vision of having a National Dying to Know Day is to create a world where we all know what to do when someone is dying, and once again make death a part of life.”

Held at the Sorell Memorial Hall on Saturday 3 August, the expo will feature floral arranging, singing as a form of therapy and advanced care directive workshops, among an array of exhibitors and speakers.

The event will feature guest speaker Professor Michael Asby, director of palliative care at the Royal Hobart Hospital, a kid’s corner, film screening, a range of exhibitors including stonemasons, integrative counselling, Small Prints, Bears of Hope, Living Urns, and charity Angel Gowns Australia.

Coffee, pizza and Devonshire teas will also be available.

Ms Bamford said it should be an enjoyable day out with an informative twist.

“If you are even remotely curious about anything related to death and dying, then we’ll probably have an answer for you,” she said.

“It’s so important that people start thinking about their death care now, no matter their age.

“Planning for it isn’t going to make you die – if anything, it’s a gift to your family, as you are saving them from having to make hard funeral-care decisions while they are grieving.”

As a holistic funeral care company, Ms Bamford said they focused on the whole death process and empowering families to be involved as little or as much as they feel able.

“We look at who a person was in life and how we can actually care and honour them and the family they’ve left behind,” she said.

“Families are incredibly vulnerable during this time and we find that many don’t feel prepared enough to make informed choices when it comes to after death care and funeral decisions.

“A part of death literacy is understanding what you can do and at Mary Eleanor, we aim to give families time and choice so they can look back in time and be at peace with their decisions.

“When people have the opportunity to get involved, it’s amazing to see their creative powers flourish and the healing that this can produce.”

The Dying to Know Expo will be held between 10am-4pm on Saturday 3 August at Sorell Memorial Hall.

For more information, contact event coordinator Tamika Kulla on 0498 051 692.

Caption: Mary Eleanor Natural Funeral Services funeral directors Tamika Kulla, left, and Sandra Bamford.