This week’s spotlight: all things death.
“We spend most of our lives avoiding thoughts of mortality, which means that when we have to talk about illness and death, we’re unprepared,” say the folks at The Action Mill, a design firm who recently produced a conversation game that encourages people to talk about end-of-life issues. Called My Gift of Grace, it’s part of the firm’s “contribution to the growing movement to unhide death.”
So how does this game ‘unhide’ death and how could doing that benefit us?
My Gift of Grace is a set of cards that come in three categories: Questions (“If you could plan three things about your own funeral, what would they be?”), Statements (“The worst part about being at the end of my life would be…”), and Activities (“Visit your local cemetery. If you see an employee, ask them what it’s like to work there.”).
Players use the cards to start short discussions with others in the group and to keep notes on; when the game is over, participants are encouraged to keep the cards handy as reminders of the conversations they had.
As for the benefits, the designers cite encouraging giving, better focus on the present, and increasing understanding, for starters:
Anyone can get the game and play it, but we’re designing My Gift of Grace to be given as a gift. Giving is good for us. Generosity makes us happier and healthier and creates social connections.
The game itself is just one part of the social support network we’re designing to help people get unstuck and have important conversations that can help us get perspective and focus on the things that are most important to us in the here and now.
Sharing how you think about the end of your life is also one of the most important gifts you can give to the people who are close to you. Letting them know how you feel about end-of-life issues can save them from a lot of guilt, trauma, and expense down the road in the event they need to make decisions for you.
Read more about the purposes behind and development of My Gift of Grace on The Action Mill’s Kickstarter page. For info about ordering the game when it becomes commercially available (hopefully this month), see MyGiftOfGrace.com.
Have you opened conversations about end-of-life issues with your community? Did the experience help get you unstuck?