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You only die once

As a famous person once said, "'In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." We tend to avoid talking about both of those things, but during Dying Matters Awareness Week, we're being challenged to talk openly about dying, death and bereavement.

  1. Dying Matters Awareness Week takes place from 12 to 18 May 2014. The theme for this year is "Dying Matters: You only die once".​

We only get once chance to have our dying wishes met, which is why it's vital to talk, plan and make arrangements for the end of life – before it's too late. During Dying Matters Awareness Week, we're encouraging everyone to take five simple steps to make their end of life experience better, both for them and for their loved ones. These are: 

  • Write your will
  • Record your funeral wishes
  • Plan your future care and support
  • Consider registering as an organ donor
  • Tell your loved ones your wishes

Research has found that many people have specific wishes about their end of life care or what they would like to happen to them after their death, but a reluctance to discuss these issues makes it much less likely that these wishes will be met. There is a major mismatch between people's preferences for where they would like to die and their actual place of death: 70% of people would prefer to die at home but more than half currently die in hospital.

Every day three people die while waiting for an organ transplant and many others lose their lives before they even get on to the transplant list. There is a serious shortage of organs and the gap between the number of organs donated and the number of people waiting for a transplant is increasing. By registering as an organ donor, you can help to save lives even after you're gone.

Sixty per cent of adults haven't made a will. Making a will ensures that your money and possessions go to the people you want them to after you die. If you don't have a will, your loved ones may have to deal with lots of extra complications after you die.

Local GP Dr David Abraham from Morden Hill said: "Every minute someone in England dies, but many people still feel uncomfortable talking about end of life issues. Talking about dying, death and bereavement is in everyone's interests as it can help ensure that all of us can get the care and support we want, where we want it, at the end of our lives.

 "Through being more confident in talking about dying and taking the five steps we are promoting during Dying Matters Awareness Week to plan for the future, we can make a big difference."​

For further information on the Dying Matters Coalition or events during Dying Matters Awareness Week, please call freephone 08000 214466 or email​, or visit the website at

You can become an organ donor by:
  • Filling in a form online at 
  • Calling the NHS Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 (Lines are open 24 hours a day all year round. Calls are charged at your contracted rate for local calls)
  • Texting SAVE to 62323