Death History and Awareness Activity

Death History and Awareness Activity
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  • Description

This exercise will aid you in exploring your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with death. Most students are initially reluctant to complete this exercise but are grateful after it is completed. This assignment will take you a few hours to complete (if done correctly). You will be graded on the completeness and thoroughness of your answers. Once completed send your assignment to me via messaging saved in .rtf format.

Death History Exercise

  1. The first death I experienced was the death of _____________________ when I was ______ years old.
  2. At the time I felt:
  3. The feelings I have now as I think of that death are:
  4. The first funeral I attended was for _____________________, and I was _____ years old at the time.
  5. At the funeral I felt:
  6. The first person my own age that died was _____________________, and I was _____ years old.
  7. At the time I remember thinking/feeling:
  8. The death that has had the greatest impact on my life was the death of _____________________ when I was _____ years old.
  9. This death has had the greatest impact because:
  10. I personally came close to my own death at age _____ when:

 

  1. “ How and Where I Would Like to Die” Exercise (if given the chance to choose)

Rank the following items from 1 to 7. Use 1 as the most preferred option and 7 as the  least preferred option, with 2,3,4,5 and 6 as the points in between.

 

  1. If I had the chance to choose, I would like to die:

After a long painful illness _____                         In my sleep _____

After a long painless illness _____                       From suicide _____

After a short painful illness _____                        By being murdered _____

After a short painless illness _____

Why did you rank these methods the way you did?

 

  1. If I had the chance to choose, I would like to die:

At home _____                 In a hospital _____

At work _____                  In a hospice setting _____

In my car _____                In a nursing home _____

In an airplane _____

Why did you rank these locations the way you did?

 

  1. Will-Writing Exercise

Write out your will. You can start by creating an itemized list of your personal possessions and then designate who should have each item when you die (e.g., wedding ring to my daughter Suzie, DVD collection to my cousin Fred.) You should also include the name of the person who should oversee your will and make sure that your wishes are carried out (the executor of your will).

You may also include your desire to be or not to be an organ donor, a medical directive (do you wish to be kept alive on life support machines), and who should be responsible for these wishes.

(You may wish to purchase a computerized will program and actually create a legal documents rather then simply going through the exercise. However, a legal document is not required for this assignment.)

 

  1. Funeral Planning Exercise

In this exercise, you will need to decide whether you would like to be buried, cremated or have your body donated to science. Answer ONLY those questions that relate to your personal choice.

 

  1. If Buried

    1. Would you like a funeral/memorial service? Why or why not?
    2. Would you like to have an open coffin at the funeral/memorial service? Why or why not?
    3. What type of flowers would you like? Or would you rather have the money donated to charity? If so, which one?
    4. What type of coffin would you like to be buried in? Why?
    5. What outfit would you like to be buried in? Why?
    6. Would you like to be buried in the city you died in, the city you were born in, or some other location? Why?
    7. Would you like music at your funeral/memorial service or at the gravesite? If so, what kind? Which songs?

 

  1. If Cremated

  1. Where would you like your ashes to be? Why?
  2. Would you like any type of funeral/memorial service? Why or why not?
  3. What type of flowers would you like? Or would you rather have the money donated to charity? If so, which one?
  4. Would you like music at your service? If so, what kind? Which songs?

 

  1. If Body Donated to Science
  2. Which organization or school should your body be given to? Why?
  3. Would you like to have any type of funeral/memorial service? Why or why not?
  4. Would you like music at the service? If so, what kind? Which songs?
  5. What type of flowers would you like? Or would you rather have the money donated to charity? If so, which one?
  6. Would you like to be an organ donor?

 

  1. Eulogy Exercise

A eulogy is an opportunity for friends and loved ones to say a few words in remembrance of you.

  1. Who would you like to deliver your eulogy?
  2. Why did you select this person?
  3. Ask this person to write an eulogy for you today. (Why wait until you are dead to hear how someone close to you feels about you?)

 

  1. Insurance and Estate Exercise

Please answer the following questions.

  1. Do you have life insurance? Why or why not?
  2. Can your survivors “make do” without your income? Why or why not?
  3. Do you have an accurate accounting of all of your assets (money, investments, property) and your liabilities (money you owe)? Why or why not?

    1. If you answered “yes” to this question, do your loved ones have access to this information in case you were to die before them? Why or why not?

  4. If you answered “no” to this question, you should consider

 

  1. Obituary Exercise

Write your own obituary. Check local papers to learn the correct language and style of an obituary. You will obviously be making part of this up, as you are still alive. This exercise is intended to help you in case you are asked to submit one for someone else.

 

  1. Friendship Death Exercise

If a friend of yours lost a loved one, what could you do to help that person during this difficult time? Keep in mind what you would like people to do for you.

 

  1. Thoughts about Mourning Exercise

Please answer the following questions regarding the mourning period after your death:

  1. How long should your spouse wait before dating again? Why?
  2. How long should your spouse and/or children wait before they go to the movies or otherwise have fun? Why?
  3. How long would you like religious activities to be carried out after your death? Why?
  4. How long should your mourners wear black? Why?
  5. How often should your loved ones visit your gravesite, ashes, memorial marker? Why?
  6. How long would you like your photos to be displayed in your loved ones’ homes? Why?
  7. Any other requests and guidelines? If so, explain why.

 

  1. After Death Exercise

Write down, as specifically as you can, what you think will happened to you after you physically die. In other words: Will that be the end? Will your spirit travel somewhere? Will you be reincarnated? Other possibilities?

 

  1. “A Note to Your Loved One(s)” Exercise

Take a moment to write a note to a loved one letting the person know how you feel about him or her today.  The take the risk and share it with them. Don’t wait until you are about to die or have lost someone you love to tell that person what he/she means to you. One of the biggest regrets people have after the death of another person is that they never got to tell them they loved them.  Write a note, deliver it, and then write about your experience.

 

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