I’m stoked to see a popular Queensland toy shop bringing the difficult subject of death to life ahead of Dying To Know Day, an annual day of action aimed at encouraging discussion of death, dying and bereavement.
Catering for people whose lives and interests aren’t all fun and games, former school teacher and owner of Let The Children Play in Mackay, Ally Blines, said dealing with grief and death is something that’s often not talked about, with devastating consequences.
“It’s dealt with behind closed doors and it needn’t be the case. We need to be open and supportive of one another during difficult times,” said Ally.
Not far from shelves stocked with colourful toys, educational games and children’s books sits a range of reference books on subjects such as dealing with grief, parenting, autism, Asperger’s and even funeral planning.
Ally thinks Dying to Know Day on August 8 is the perfect opportunity to broach the subject with family.
Launched in 2013, the D2KDay initiative by the Groundswell Project encourages people to improve their death literacy and to get informed about end of life and death care options such as dying at home, and to be better equipped to support family and friends experiencing death, dying and bereavement.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care reports that Australia has been characterised as “a death denying society where many people are reluctant to consider their own mortality and talk with their families about what their wishes are for the end of life”.
Ally was awesome when approached to stock my book The Bottom Drawer Book: an after death action plan. She jumped at the chance, calling it “a fantastic resource and workbook for those keen to be organised ahead of the inevitable”.
Bereavement is another potentially difficult subject catered for at the Ally’s toy shop In Mackay.
The work of Mackay widow Deb Rae is popular. She has penned ‘Getting there – grief to peace for young widows’ when her young husband passed away. It’s a book that Ally believes resonates with so many aspects of life.
“We have elderly men who lost a wife 20 years ago turning to her words.
“And one of my own children was quite ill during their key teenage years and it was only when I read Deb’s book that I realised I had been grieving for the loss of those years and my expectations for that time, even though my child was fine and had moved on.”
“Deb’s book is mainly bought by people who are buying it either directly for a friend who has lost a partner or for themselves to help them understand that friend’s experience.”
Ally said she hopes people who walk through the doors of Let the Children Play leave not only with their children’s needs catered for, but also their own.
“It’s important we all address these kind of subjects, even though it may be a little confronting,” she said.
Dying to Know Day is a good excuse to bring up the subjects of death, dying or bereavement up with people in your life. There are lots of activities planned in many parts of the country. Check out www.dyingtoknow.org for events.
I’m speaking in Bendigo as part of a jam-packed morning of activities, including a crematorium tour. Details here. Would love to see you there.