“Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.” – Haruki Murakami
Everything dies. It’s a fact of life. When it comes to death, we don’t like to admit that some day ourselves and the ones we love will die.
People often go to great lengths to avoid having to talk , think or speak about death and dying. Our act of oblivion doesn’t change the outcome we must all face at some point. Considering the fact that death is imminent for all of us, resistance is futile. Instead of avoiding the thought and reality of our own expiration date, it is a relief to accept and make peace with the inevitable.
The journal prompts I have listed below are designed to help you examine the reality that surrounds death, as well as, your feelings associated with death. These prompts will help you delve into how it affects the way you live and love.
When we examine our own mortality and the mortality of others we can learn to come to terms with our deepest fears, expectations and emotions. Once you have conquered your fear of death, life becomes more meaningful. It opens your eyes to find greater purpose, significance, fulfillment, and satisfaction in your life.
Journal Prompts about Death and Dying
- Does death, in general, scare you? What are your thoughts and feelings regarding death?
- Is there anyone close to you that has passed away? In what ways did you grieve? How did you or could you learn to cope with their loss? Have you memorialized through pictures, poems, or writing? Have you buried yourself in work to avoid feeling? How else have you expressed grief?
- Do you believe in a life after death? Describe what you think happens to us after we die.
- When you pass on what do you wish other remember about you? How can you make sure that you are living in a way that would leave positive impressions on people?
- Write a letter to someone that has passed away whether you were close with them or not.
- If you could have lunch with a loved one that is deceased, who would it be and why? What would you want to talk to them about?
- Describe the first time you faced a death. Was it someone close to you or someone you knew of? How did it impact your outlook on life?
- Write your eulogy.
- If you had the option of knowing how and when you would die, would you want to know? Why or why not?
- Have you ever witnessed someone die? How did it affect you?
- Do you feel like you could ever be in a profession that deals with death on a daily basis such as a Hospice Nurse, Funeral Director, or Coroner?
- You just found out you have a terminal illness and only have 6 months to live. What would you change about your life? Is there anything you would do more or less of? Who would you tell? How would you spend the time you have left?
- Say there was a pill for immortality and it was yours for the taking if you want it. The catch, however, is that there is only one pill that has ever existed and it is the only one that will ever exist. Therefore, while you live forever, everyone you love and know will eventually die. Would you take the pill?
- Have you ever came close to dying? Describe the experience.
- Map out your will. Who will you leave your belongings to? If you have children, who will they be left with? Who will you appoint to ensure your will is carried out?
- Write about the kinds of support that was most meaningful to you while experiencing grief. Is there anyone in your life to whom you could give the gift of support in one of these ways?
- What does death teach us about life?
- When did you first realize you would someday be old or someday die?
- When you die, would you rather be awake and aware, or sedated and oblivious? Why?
- Who will carry out your final wishes when you die? How will they know what those wishes are? What are you final wishes?
- Is there anyone or anything worth dying for?
- What are your thoughts on organ donation?
- Would you consider physician assisted suicide if you were suffering a painful dying experience?
- What do you think would happen if people never died?
- What do you think of cryogenics? Would you consider having your body frozen, so that you could be thawed out and brought back to life in the future? Do you think it will ever be possible?
- Have you known someone who had an extended sickness before death?
- If you are married or have a life partner would you expect them to move on after you die. If so how long should they wait?
- Have you or anyone you’ve known had a Near Death Experience? Write in depth about the experience.
- What kind of funeral arrangements would you make for yourself if you knew you were dying?