The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Don’t Let Death Be A Conversation Stopper …
July 1, 2011, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

I’ve written about how important I think it is to talk about death before death actually happens to you – or someone near to you – and I’ve talked about how the ‘Days With My Father’ website was a beautiful expression of what love and loss is, however I’ve recently read this:

It’s by the actress Natascha McElhone – who you have probably seen in things as varied as the movie Ronin and the TV series Californication – and it’s letters she wrote to her husband when he died suddenly, the day after their 10th anniversary while she was filming in LA and heavily pregnant with their 3rd child.

He was aged 43.

It is, without doubt, a beautiful and moving tribute but one of the other reasons I enjoyed it is because in her grief, she talks about issues few would ever dare say in public and yet from personal experience, I know they are screaming loudly inside your head when you lose someone close.

This book does more for having kids, appreciating what you have, understanding death and errrrmn, life insurance, than pretty much all the contrived stuff put out by companies and corporations … so if you want to have some material to open up a positive conversation about death with your loved ones – or simply remember that focus groups and research reports can never truly capture what people feel and think, buy this book.

You can get it here.


36 Comments so far
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When you first started to write about this topic, I must admit I found it hard to read, let alone consider talking about. But over time I have discussed the subject with my wife and parents. It’s never the easiest conversation to have, but it has led to some amazing discussions that I may never have had otherwise which has resulted in me feeling closer to them because of it. I know you went through a terrible time to get to this enlightenment, but I want to thank you for sharing it because it is the topic that can ironically add life to your relationships.

Comment by Pete


Comment by Jemma King

Thank you mate.

Comment by Rob

wonder how many people comment on this post today campbell.

you might be edging towards sounding like the oprah fucking book club but good fucking work.

Comment by andy@cynic

good point about this being a better ad for life insurance.

of course thered be a fucking riot if one of the cold, corporate, thieving fuckers did something like that but youd have your cannes grand fucking prix prize to keep you warm at night.

Comment by andy@cynic

Oooooh political. You’re becoming the Ben Elton of Adland. But without the Queen musical black mark.

Comment by Rob

dont ever fucking compare me to that queen writing champagne fucking socialist again. you prick.

Comment by andy@cynic

just picking up on the point andy touches on … how would you feel/have felt about the book if it was thought up by some insurance business?

Comment by niko

It’s a great point … and I’d say it all depends on how it is done and the history of the organisation behind it.

Tone and respect would be everything … though being honest, it would probably be safer for a company not associated with death sponsoring/writing a book not about death – but maybe that’s exactly the reason why a company [with the right attitude and approach] should do it.

Or not.

Comment by Rob

and if a planner or any other fucker needs to be reminded that a focus group or research paper doesnt tell them what people really feel or think then they need a fucking kicking, not this book.

something tells me theres a lot of them out there that need their face introduced to dr fucking martin.

Comment by andy@cynic

quick test for you to see if a planner is a planner or a piece of cold shit:

ask them how the people theyre describing feel about any circumstance in their life and if their response doesnt make you feel a fucking thing inside or contains a bunch of percentages or casual obserfuckingvations, they dont know fucking shit about what makes people tick or what makes the best fucking work, work.

if that happens, then according to campbell, thats when you buy them this book. me? id put them out of their misery.

Comment by andy@cynic

Does that mean she’s on the market? She’s hot.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Don’t bust my balls Mary.

Comment by Billy Whizz

youre right billy, shes fucking hot and your comment made me laugh like the sick, insensitive prick that you are, but ive got the whole bryant clan visiting this weekend and if i say anything more mary will skin me afuckinglive.

Comment by andy@cynic

by the way, you cant break what you aint got.

mindlessly insult afuckingway. takes the heat off me.

Comment by andy@cynic

It’s what I do.

Comment by Billy Whizz

It’s been nice knowing you Billy.

Comment by Rob

its never too early to write a last will. i know how i want to die. the chances its happening like this are, well, who knows. but i already communicated how i want to be burried and how my funeral should be. i have no desire to die though. but eventually it will happen. im not going to voluntarily read a book about the real tragedy of a woman with three kids though. the news from all around the world i voluntarily follow are enough for me. for now.

Comment by peggy

im pointing towards the headline

Comment by peggy

even though its another tangent comment, id totally recommend anyone to write a last will or think about what should happen with their bodies and how the ceremony should be because it actually saves the loved ones who would be left behind a lot of stress in a situation no one can be prepared for. just in case.

Comment by peggy

Don’t worry Peggy, I’m not forcing anyone to buy or read the book, ha. Maybe I didn’t explain properly why this book is so good …

Sure it’s full of sadness and pain … the sort of sadness and pain you only get when you’ve lost someone who literally meant the World to you … but it’s so much more than that. It’s a book filled with love and hope … about appreciating good times and making good times. It’s about as far removed from the terrible news that fills our day through newspapers and media reports as you can get.

Of course you may still not want to read it and obviously that’s cool – but from my personal perspective, I’d say you’d might find you feel better for the experience if you did.

Comment by Rob

how to say this at the time of the night without sounding like. well… i dont want to feel better. i feel good. i dont know what this book could give me. though i appreciate i would have to read it to find out.
wasnt it sartre who said that you need to have a consciousness for death so you can really appreciate life and see what is important. been there. done that. to quote george parker lol

Comment by peggy

thats good peggy because you know how misery hates being left on its own.

Comment by andy@cynic

why do you think i come here

Comment by peggy

gold response peggy 🙂

Comment by lauren

i aim to please 😉 x

Comment by peggy

wow. this book looks fucking gut-wrenching. but in a good way. and interestingly synchronous with a conversation my mother and i have been having.

so last week, after hanging out with my nephew/her grandson, my mum and i were in the car back to the city and we started talking about my folks’ retirement and then their financial plans for when they die. neither my mum, or stepdad have a signed will, or have written plans for what happens when they do die – and what is planned is very sketchy. they were afraid of discussing it because of the emotion tied up in it.

i was quite firm in suggesting that we all discuss it, together, so that we all know what each other wants/plans for funerary arrangements, who is to look after the other parent, or the little child. i reminded her that dealing with grief is fucking hard enough without having to make any more decisions than you possibly have to.

i guess for me it’s not a scary subject – it’s a very practical and normal subject to talk about and i was quite firm – almost cross.

the cute thing is that mum rang me the next day to tell me that she had organised a ‘meeting’ about between them, and then we’ll all have a family discussion soon. she was so pleased and it was nice to give her a bit less fear about dealing with it.

i might wait until i buy her this book, though, lest she think i have a morbid fascination 🙂

Comment by lauren

It’s not gut-wrenching Lauren, it’s intensely human and affirmative. Well, that’s how it read to me.

Now how are we “celebrating” Billy’s imminent leaving and have we all got Mary’s alibi straight?

Comment by john

I’m with you John, it’s human, positive and beautiful.

I am assuming us agreeing on something is about as scary as Mary visiting Billy in the dead of the night with a knife.

Comment by Rob

i find ‘intensely human and affirmative’ gut-wrenching stuff. especially when people are their most honest and fucking ‘there’.

Comment by lauren

And yet it’s liberating at the same time.

Even if you don’t realise it at the time.

Comment by Rob

The fact that you agree with me shows my time here has not been as wasted as I thought.

After all, your claim in your feminist preso that “it’s very very very hard to be totally wrong in advertising” shows just how many practitioners are indeed remarkable.

Comment by john

you mean you actually read campbells shit. like, in detail? you fucking sick bastard sadist.

Comment by andy@cynic

Actually, there’s very little detail. It’s all planning generalisations,

Comment by john

that would be masochist no

Comment by peggy

so reading this blog is basically the opposite of that book.

Comment by andy@cynic

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