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Maggie Beer is dying to talk

Maggie Beer would like to plan the music and food for her funeral.

Australian cook, author and restauranteur, Maggie Beer, has established a charitable foundation that aims to improve quality of life for current and future generations of older people.

With its slogan ‘creating an appetite for life’, the Maggie Beer Foundation wants fresh food that is full of flavour to be a daily pleasure for everyone as they age.

Below, Mrs Beer answers questions from the Dying to Talk Discussion Starter, launched on Wednesday as part of National Palliative Care Week.

For support in discussing end-of-life wishes with your loved ones, download it from www.dyingtotalk.org.au

If you had a condition that you could not recover from, what would be important to you, towards the end of your life?

To be able to say goodbye to everyone special to me and to leave a letter for each of the family for later, talking of the things I hope for each of them and how much I love them.

Are there any pets that you would like to see or be with you, if this is possible?

If I had a pet at the time yes.

Would you prefer a quiet environment or do you prefer activity and chatter around you?

I would want to be able to look out on the garden and to have music playing and my family around so that’s a bit of each.

Would you like music to be playing and if so, what style or what music?

See how important music is! It was one of my first thoughts. I would like classical, probably opera, or jazz from the 1930s and ’40s.

Is there anyone particular you would like to see or talk to?   

I would love to talk to retired Reverend Ian Parsons.

Is there anything else you can think of that you would like?    

I would like to plan the music and the food for my funeral. I want to be buried in a balsa wood coffin on the property we live on and have an olive tree planted to mark my resting place. Next to me, I would like a space for my husband for when his time comes, with a big strong red gum for him.

What is on your bucket list of things you would like to do or achieve before you die?

I have so many things I still want to do in life, like the work with my foundation [Maggie Beer Foundation]. In terms of family, I want to see my daughters happy and each of my grandchildren grow up and find their niche, their purpose and their happiness.

How did you feel during the process of completing this form? Was there anything about the process that interested or surprised you?    

I felt a little sad but satisfied to have written it down.

To read more about the Maggie Beer Foundation or make a donation, click here.


Comments

  • Very honest and reflective..something we should talk about...jacqui

    - jacqui.hogan
  • If you had a condition that you could not recover from, what would be important to you, towards the end of your life? Foremost to have control over my treatment, control; over the manner of my death and to be able to put my affairs in order and say the things that should be said, write the letters that need to be written. Are there any pets that you would like to see or be with you if this is possible? Without a doubt, pets are so good for people. They add a sense of normalcy to the situation and provide comfort and unconditional love - they also help with depression and lower blood pressure. Would you prefer a quiet environment or do you prefer activity and chatter around you? I do not want to be in a hospital surrounded by medical equipment. I will make sure I have the opportunity to choose and to have my favourite music and movies playing and friends around Would you like music to be playing and if so, what style or what music? My taste in music is very broad Irish folk, Bollywood, classical, opera Gilbert and Sullivan 1940-1980s. Again normalising the situation no sober or soft tones Is there anyone particular you would like to see or talk to? My partner and my children and friends Is there anything else you can think of that you would like? I have already planned my funeral and wake. A private cremation, no mourners then a celebration of my time in this life. My ashes to be spread at the Sangha in Melbourne in the rose garden. What is on your bucket list of things you would like to do or achieve before you die? There are so many things I want to do write the great novel, be published, travel back to Tibet, Malaysia, Nepal, India, Bali, England, Germany. To meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama again, be closer to friends. To know my kids and my grandkids know I loved them and tried to provide a better world for them to live in How did you feel during the process of completing this form? Was there anything about the process that interested or surprised you? Pleased I have done it. I was not surprised but interested to see I used the word normalisation. I don’t fear dying but I do fear the manner of my death. Western society does not sit easily with discussions on death and dying. It is part of the circle of life it is but another great adventure.

    - Linda Morse Morse
  • No, there were no surprises. I believe it is something we should do, and talk about with our families/or close friend, whilst we are well, even better. I must confess those involved are a little confused about a couple of things, as I keep changing my mind e.g. music. However the important parts are understood. Peace of mind dying is as important as peace of mind living. Also, we do not want to leave a task for our loved ones left behind. Great idea to put it out there Maggie.

    - Lyn Uthe

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