Discussing end of life and death can often be a taboo, though many people agree that it is an important subject to raise with loved ones. The Bucket Project was created in 2011 to help people in Liverpool become more comfortable with the topic of death. A range of materials were produced by the project to help people start their own conversations about death in a lighter, less morbid way.

The benefits to talking about death far outweigh any fears or superstitions you may have. It can:

• Guide and comfort those left behind

• Make loved ones aware of your wishes

• Bring peace of mind

Some families find that talking or preparing for the death of someone they love upsetting and scary, however avoiding it won’t stop it from happening. Similarly, dying people and their families can experience a sense of loneliness or isolation, feeling as though they have no one to talk to about what is happening to them. They may even feel that they can’t talk to each other for fear of upsetting someone.

Avoiding conversations about death and dying can lead to wishes at end of life being ignored as loved ones may not be aware of our preferences and beliefs. If we are afraid of broaching the topic with others, questions may go unanswered and wishes unfulfilled.

If as individuals and as a society we are not open about death, dying and loss then it can make things worse. For example:

• People may die without writing a will, leaving all sorts of practical and financial complications for family and friends

• If we are unable to acknowledge the reality of death and dying we may miss the opportunity to say ‘goodbye’ or ‘I love you’

• If we cannot talk about death it makes it harder to acknowledge that there are limits to what medicine can achieve, which could lead to unnecessary and futile interventions


The Bucket Project are committed to changing attitudes toward death, dying and loss in Liverpool. Start your own conversation today and help keep the topic of death alive. There are many ways to start a conversation about death; it is the approach that is important. Consider if it is the appropriate time to bring up this subject, as those recently bereaved may not wish to discuss this topic immediately.

The following list provides some examples of how you can initiate a conversation about death:

• This booklet

• The Bucket Project blog

• Materials from The Bucket Project and Dying Matters

• Major life events such as having a baby or getting a mortgage

• Recent news events

• Advertisements for life insurance, funeral planning, will writing

• Local engagement events

• Charity campaigns

• Conversations Menu

• Soap storylines

• Unusual options for cremated ashes

• Films about immortality

• Funeral personalisation

• Cultural death traditions

• Organ donation

• Music that you would possibly want at your funeral

• What clothes you would like to wear in your coffin

• The theory that energy cannot be created or destroyed

• Afterlife – is there one?

There may be some resistance from your loved ones to discussing death. The thought of losing someone you care about can be frightening, but avoiding it won’t help anyone in the future. Make end of life plans more about life and living.

For other ways to start a conversation visit Dying Matters, Good Life Good Death Good Grief and Cheshire Living Well Dying Well.

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