Despite the fact we know for sure it is going to happen, we don’t really want to think about death, let alone talk about it.
The problem is the subject therefore becomes shrouded in a sort of unspoken secrecy, or brushed off with jokey euphemisms in a bid to cover our awkwardness.
But one charity is aiming to change all that.
Marie Curie wants to encourage people to rethink how they talk about the topic and open up conversations about death so that the first time we’re not discussing it is when we actually face losing someone.
The 'Whatever You Call It' campaign uses a series of animations and graphics to highlight the light-hearted euphemisms we use to avoid the reality of the subject and break down the taboo of talking about death.
From ‘Kick the bucket’ to ‘Meet your maker’ and ‘Take your last bow’, the animated film is set to an upbeat jingle, and illustrates the euphemisms with images such as a welly kicking a bucket.
It ends with the line: “Whatever you call it, we should talk about it.”
The advert was created following research by the charity which revealed a lack of preparation can leave bereaved loved ones upset and confused.
A quarter of those surveyed who weren’t aware of their loved ones’ final wishes experienced regret over unresolved feelings or things left unsaid, while one in five people were left feeling unsure if the funeral was what the person would have wanted.
Some 26% of the 2,224 adults quizzed regretted unresolved issues, and 19% said they experienced confusion or second-guessing while trying to manage the death of someone close to them.
The research also revealed not knowing a loved one's final wishes could result in issues with emotional wellbeing, finances and funeral arrangements for the bereaved.
So the stakes are pretty high, particularly as the charity also revealed that the number of people dying is set to increase sharply over the next decade due to the ageing population.
But despite it being so important to talk about it, people are shying away from the death discussion with the survey finding the topic is one of the subjects people are less comfortable talking about, with respondents saying they would rather talk about religion, money, politics, immigration and even Brexit than tackle dying.
Whatever you call it, we should all #talkabout it. We know it can be a tough topic to bring up, but talking and preparing for it helps make life better at the end: https://t.co/G7pibhHEp0 pic.twitter.com/1P4ZbnNzQc— Marie Curie (@mariecurieuk) November 3, 2019
Commenting on the findings Matthew Reed, chief executive of Marie Curie, said: “Our ageing population means it is increasingly important for families to have conversations, share their wishes and be prepared so that they have the best chance of a good end of life experience for themselves and those they leave behind.
“When we are bereaved we can experience avoidable regret, guilt, confusion, family conflict, and negative financial and legal impacts.
READ MORE: What makes us scared of dying?
“While most of us say we are comfortable having these conversations, the reality is that many of us are not making any preparations as it feels a long way off or something that will cause unnecessary upset both for us and the people around us.
“But we need to plan more for the end of life, while there is still time to do so. Having these conversations early can be easier than having them when we, or someone we love, is dying.”
As well as the cheerful advert, the “whatever you call it, we should all talk about it” campaign features a series of resources including conversation starter cards and checklists at the Marie Curie Talk About website.