last week in my article “Funerals as Counter Culture” I made a bold statement:
“After 50 years of steady decline in public attitudes towards funerals the pendulum is swinging back our way. Like Croci in the spring, the signs are poking through the frost…”
No sooner was that article published than I was exposed to an even more dramatic example:
The actual article heralded by the cover page chronicles the trials of a caregiving son and the decline and deaths of his parents. But its significance as the cover story of Time magazine is profound in another way. Time wants to sell magazines and magazines draw attention to themselves by their covers. Now in the week this was published it was competing with such newsworthy events as the syrian massacre and the upcoming Wisconsin recall election. But what did the editors of Time think would draw the most attention?
In three words… HOW TO DIE… they captured the interest of a rapidly growing number of boomers. Whether in the context of aging parents or in the context of their own deaths it is a topic that perks up the ears of everyone in my cohort group.
I am telling you as loudly as I can:
BOOMERS WANT TO TALK ABOUT DEATH AND DYING.
IF NOT YOU THEN WHO?
One cannot help but be reminded of an earlier Time cover. A cover that arguably heralded a societal shift in the way our nation practices religion and set the stage for an entirely new worship style
Here is what I would do:
- I would become the local expert on the practical issues of dying
- I would augment my local speaking with topics like “the good death” “how to die” “living wills” and “how to write creative eulogies and obituaries”
- I would not overemphasize the emotional aspects.
- I would become the “go to” expert for my community on resources and ideas. After all, they think you are any way.
A final postscript. Those of you who offer grief and bereavement programs will be very tempted to use the people who run those services for you. I would encourage you not to do that. This is less about the emotional issues (although they are important) than about the practical issues. The sub theme is about how they can exercise control over the process. You might want to read the case study on this website We Stand At The Threshold for greater depth on the Boomer market.
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