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Dying Matters Week – May 2-6, 2024

Dying Matters Awareness Week is held from May 2 to 6 each year. This annual week-long celebration encourages the observance of matters related to death, dying, and bereavement. The campaign aims to make it easy and more comfortable for people to talk about their death and concerns after their death. It also helps prepare those whose loved ones are facing death. Hospice U.K. has been the leading figure in this campaign since the inception of this week and continues to lead from the front to normalize what is a sensitive matter.

History of Dying Matters Week

“From the cradle to the grave” is a well-known phrase we frequently hear, appearing in books, T.V. shows, and movies. However, one issue difficult to resolve or come to terms with is the realization that one day, our life or that of someone we hold dear will reach finality. Usually, the most awkward conversations are the ones that require facing the reality of dying, bereavement, and the finality of death.

Issues surrounding the loss of a loved one and the psychological implications involved should be carefully and sensitively addressed. Organizations such as Hospice U.K., a national charity for end-of-life care, and like-minded others are committed to ensuring that the terminally ill and those close to them feel neutral (if not good) about dying and be content and assured that their loved ones left behind will live comfortably.

The week recognizes organizations such as Hospice U.K. and others like it to spread awareness that talking about dying, death, and bereavement is healthy. Everyone has the right to stay emotionally, mentally, and physically well. Instead of stigmatizing such talks and making others uncomfortable about such matters, social work teams take the initiative to de-stigmatize such discussions. Healthcare systems aren’t usually prepared to deliver end-of-life care and support which makes hospices all the more important. Dying Matters Awareness Week is an initiative that focuses on encouraging dialogue to promote a healthy emotional and mental lifestyle.

Dying Matters Week timeline

Eleventh Century
The Church Cares For the Dying

The Roman Catholic Church becomes a center of giving care to the wounded, sick and dying in its hospices.

The First Hospice in the U.K.

Fredenheim becomes the first dedicated hospice in London to offer beds to dying tuberculosis patients.

The Modern-day Hospices

Nurse and medical social worker Dame Cicely establishes St Christopher’s Hospice, the first hospice linking expert pain and symptom control, compassionate care, teaching, and clinical research.

The Inaugural Celebrations

The first Dying Matter Awareness Week is celebrated in 2009.

Dying Matters Week FAQs

Is hospice only for the terminally ill?

Hospices also cater to others who are ill, wounded, or simply bereaved.

How can I talk about dying matters?

Many centers promote such discussions so register and you’ll get the help you need. Hospice UK is a premier example of such a center.

What are dying matters?

These are all sorts of issues associated with death or the dying process of an individual.

How to Observe Dying Matters Week

  1. Talk about dying matters

    Accept that everyone will die sometime and that it is a normal, natural part of life. Yes, it is an irrecoverable loss, but if ignored, it can cause problems for those still alive. So this week, open up about speaking on dying matters.

  2. Plan your death!

    No one knows when they will die, but they can choose to die peacefully in the presence of their loved ones. Tell your loved ones how you would want to die if you ever catch a terminal disease. Let them know it is okay and normal to talk about such matters.

  3. Join a bereavement club

    By suggesting you join a bereavement club, we are not saying that you join others and mourn over their loss, but be there for the person who has just lost a loved one. Tell them about your experience (if you have had one) and how you dealt with it, and encourage them to talk about their emotions. Only communication and acceptance will alleviate the misery.

5 Facts About Dying Matters Week

  1. It focuses on an uncomfortable reality

    Every second person you encounter is uncomfortable when talking about their death.

  2. More than 200 hospices

    In the U.K., there are more than 200 hospices to cater to the needs and care of people who are ill or dying.

  3. Not only for the terminally ill

    There is a misconception that hospices only give end-of-life care; they also provide care for the ill, wounded, and bereaved.

  4. A broader vision

    The goal is not only to spread awareness on breaking the conventional ideas surrounding death but to give the dying person a sense of fulfillment.

  5. The awareness is well received

    The tenth anniversary of this awareness week was celebrated in 2019 and received huge acclaim nationally and internationally.

Why Dying Matters Week is Important

  1. It helps break taboos

    Generally, people prefer to talk about light-hearted things and avoid topics relating to death. The day encourages discussion on this very issue.

  2. It encourages planning for the future

    Talking about dying matters enables a person to prepare themselves and their loved ones. It motivates the idea to leave behind a will for their family while considering the current options available.

  3. A good death is its reward

    The day is a reminder that their loved ones will have people to offer them consolation and reassurance. This makes it easier for some to let go and pass away peacefully.

Dying Matters Week dates

2024May 2Thursday
2025May 2Friday
2026May 2Saturday
2027May 2Sunday
2028May 2Tuesday

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