5 things I learnt from a Death Café

Sarah Jane Woods – Coach for women

I often say there is nothing more certain in life than death, taxes… and change.

As a life coach, my primary mission is to help my clients, who feel stuck, to move forwards from emotional changes to lead a joyful flourishing life. A large part of being able to do this, is to help them to identify and remove their emotional blocks.

I have found that death, understandably, brings up a lot of difficult emotions for all of us. Left unrecognised or ignored, these feelings can have a deep, sometimes detrimental, impact on the way we feel about ourselves, others and the way we live our lives.

It was for this reason, together with the personal journey I am facing, with the ill health of both my parents, that I followed my curiosity to find out more. I attended a death café held at our local crematorium this week.

This is what I learned.

Don't Wait

Make amends with the people you care about. Find a way to tell them that you love them and work on acceptance and forgiveness of their humanity. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to forgive them or forget what happened. It just means you are emotionally free to move on to live a better life despite what happened.

Live Every Day of your Life Fully

Think about your legacy, what do YOU want to leave behind?  How do you want people to remember you? I don’t want to leave this world with the thought “ I wish I had…”. I want to leave with the thoughts “ I’m so glad I took the chance to… and ”I remember when…”. Think about what you want your family to say about you and who you need to be to make that a reality. 

Being There for Others

Death is the ultimate life transition that we know about. Believe what you need to believe that brings you comfort. Never force that belief on anyone else. It’s a very private thing. The biggest gift you can give someone else is just to listen and accept that this is their way of dealing with it, and that’s ok.

The Emotions of Death

Death can affect us in many ways and it may not be the death of a person. It may be the death of a career, an identity or a relationship that can cause similar difficult emotions, especially if the change was not your choice. Do what you need to do to process those feelings. Then find a way to let them go, so that they do not negatively define your life in the future.

Be Kind to Yourself

Just like any new life experience, you cannot really prepare emotionally for death. You don’t know how you will feel. Find out what you need to, do anything practical you can do and then give yourself the time and space and compassion to go through it in the way that’s right for you.

I have realised that I am experiencing the anticipatory grief of my parents inevitable death. This really helpful article is a great explanation of this so I know I will need to be gentle with myself through this new experience too. 

Always Remember

Death is a necessary part of life, a process of shedding the past and making room for the new. It may not be fair, it is not kind but it is inevitable. 

Life is always a series of peaks and troughs and living a flourishing life is not always about being happy all the time. It is about learning to listen to yourself, so that we can pay respect to our feelings through this flow. We all have feelings, we all need them and there is no shame in asking for help to process them when we need it.

Life is short peeps, please get busy living!

Grateful thanks to the knowledgeable and caring staff at Poole Crematorium for the respectful behind the scenes tour and to the wonderful considerate hosting by the beautiful soul Ellie Brooks from Wildflower Ceremonies.

Discover more about Death Cafés

Much love and light always

SJ Signature Green

Sarah Jane Woods
Life Coach for Women

Sarah Jane is passionate about emotional health and the impact this has on the choices we make. She encourages women to unlock their emotions and lead from their heart. Through a combination of therapeutic change sessions, she gently motivates and empowers them to a state of self-awareness, energy, and balance so they can move on. 

SJ says, “The world needs more confident women, and I am constantly held in awe of just how strong, resourceful and adaptable women are. I coach them to feel, respond and express their emotions in healthier ways. No matter what has happened to them, I see them build a deep sense of self belief so that they can achieve anything, and I am here to empower and guide them as they flourish into the next chapter of their life.” 

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