ROYAL LONDON addresses the topic of death directly in the book presented here in an attempt to, if not break with, taboos or at least moderate them and perhaps even do away with one or two altogether.
RANKIN AGENCY : “The UK’s largest mutual life insurance, pension and investment company, Royal London, has teamed up with creative agency RANKIN and Italian-born, Denmark-based illustrator Andrea Ucini for a purpose-led campaign to equip people with the tools they need to speak openly and honestly about death – and help prepare themselves and their loved ones for the inevitable.”
The result is ‘How to Die Well’, a full-length book providing information and support on subjects ranging from end-of-life planning, settling estates and arranging a funeral, to saying goodbye to loved ones, coming to terms with the final farewell and coping with grief. The book is available in libraries as well as online. Free of charge.
ROYAL LONDON : “Copies will also be provided by Royal London to key charities and organizations working with diverse communities in the UK and Ireland in the field of death, end-of-life planning, grief and loss, and made available to financial advisers to share with their clients. The campaign was informed by a survey which revealed that 87% of people in the UK agreed that if we felt more comfortable discussing death, it would be easier to have our end-of-life wishes met.”
Royal London’s Group Chief Marketing Officer, Susie Logan, explains : “In our line of work, we all too often see the consequences of a reluctance to talk about death and dying with loved ones. Very sadly, it can lead to end-of-life wishes going unexpressed and unfulfilled, as well as creating additional stress for family members who are already dealing with grief. This final taboo persists despite the fact that death has been more prominent in our lives than ever before over the past year. We knew that Royal London could do something to help, and we wanted to put our expertise to good use.”
‘How to Die Well’ features contributions from authors Eimear McBride and Flora Baker, journalists Rhik Sammader, Kevin Toolis and Amita Joshi, by musician Ben Buddy Slack, as well as by Royal London CEO Barry O’Dwyer,… “plus by leaders in the fields of palliative care, funeral poverty, and assisted dying.”
In addition to curating the publication, the book also contains an essay by star photographer and director RANKIN on his very personal experience with the topic of death when he lost his parents fifteen years ago.
Rankin tells us : “Losing someone you love is a devastating experience, and we currently make it worse for ourselves by putting off important conversations until the last minute – or until it’s too late. ‘How to Die Well’ is born out of a conviction that dying well can be a fundamental part of living well if we can just overcome our reluctance to talk about it. We hope the book helps as many individuals as possible, and also that it might lead to wider changes for the better. For example, tackling funeral poverty and arriving at a better understanding of the impact of grief on mental health.”
‘How to Die Well’ follows on from Royal London’s digital exhibition ‘Lost for Words’, also created in collaboration with Rankin. Through video interviews and original portrait photography shot by Rankin over the summer of 2020, household names such as Gloria Hunniford, Ashley Walters, Konnie Huq, Malin Andersson, Divina De Campo, John Stapleton, and Jeff Brazier have shared their personal stories of bereavement in the hope of inspiring open conversations about death.
‘How to Die Well’ is available for free at royallondon.com/how-to-die-well