As both mere humans and as professionals in the palliative care sphere, how often do we catch ourselves or those around us contemplating the big questions of life, or more specifically, death? Quite often, I imagine… Yet many of us still find ourselves tongue-tied on the subject. Even as professionals in the ‘business’ of dying, we may approach conversations on the subject with a certain reluctance. How do we gauge the readiness of a person to face their own mortality? How do we establish a person’s preferences for disclosure? These are complex questions with perhaps no one easy answer – unless of course, you’re a kid, right?
It’s fascinating to hear kids speak their minds on the subject of death. Last month, The Wheeler Centre in Melbourne hosted a fantastic forum “Children On Death” chaired by esteemed ABC Radio Presenter, Natasha Mitchell. A group of kids aged 9 to 17 from St Martins Youth Arts Centre had a few words to say. For them, death seemed less complex, less abstract, and more certain. “It’s just the end of a person,” They describe. “Why would we want to live forever?”