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Death can be a difficult subject to talk about, but it's an important part of life.

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If you want to dive into this subject further, here are a couple of podcast suggestions:

A preacher has made it her job to get her congregation prepared for death. A podcast about talking to loved ones about death before it happens:

A chaplain helps others deal with death after facing her own tragedy (from The Moth) :

For more on explaining death to a child:

Today we're going to talk about death. And friends, death is a part of life.

And as you get older, it is natural and expected that you'll see people close to you die. In a weird way, death can be a little bit like other events that mark a big change or passage of time, like graduations or weddings. And just like a graduation or a wedding, the mourning process involves formalities that might seem really bewildering at first.

Here, we'll introduce you to some things to expect when there's a death in your close family. I would call this a “dos and don'ts” list, but we don't really have any “don'ts,” because hey, you might already be having a hard enough time as it is.

Do: Talk about death before it happens. It's not morbid or insensitive to ask your family members about what they would like to happen to their remains and what kind of funeral or memorial they want. Some people opt to leave written instructions in their will or even go so far as to pay for their casket and funeral years before they expect to die. Knowing what your family members want will help guide the decision-making when the time comes.

Do: Contact people directly to let them know what's happening when a relative dies. If it's your responsibility to alert friends and family that Grandma died, try to reach out to people directly. An old-fashioned phone call may be the most kind and considerate way, but depending on the circumstances and how your family communicates, a text message might be okay, too. Only you can know which method would be better.

Just try and make sure that no one in the family will find out accidentally through a Facebook post. It's also important to be as direct as you can, especially if you're with younger family members who might not understand euphemisms. It's hard to say, “Grandma died,” but it's the most clear thing to say.

Do: Prepare to experience emotions you maybe didn't expect. There's no right way to grieve, and not everybody falls within the stereotypical “stages of grief” you may have heard of. Even if your loved one died peacefully after living a long, rich life, it can still be harder than you expected when they're really gone. You might also feel some relief to know that they aren't suffering anymore, or even anger if they left some things unresolved.

Death can also prompt big changes in family dynamics, so you might find yourself adjusting to a new role within the family. And sometimes death prompts surviving family members to disclose surprising revelations about the person who died. So, prepare to take care of yourself and don't put any pressure on yourself if you're not experiencing things the way you think you quote-unquote should.

Do: Wear whatever color you want to the funeral or memorial. You might see people wearing black at funerals in the movies, but in real life, you can wear whatever you think best suits your family and honors your loved one's memory.

Do: Arrange a small, relaxed get-together with your closest family and friends to celebrate that person's life and your own. After all the formalities of a funeral or memorial ceremony, it can be really nice to gather for dinner or drinks, where you can relax and toast your loved one's memory.

Do: Take care of yourself. Seek grief counseling, even if you think you'll be fine. Take some time off work if you can. Remember to eat and sleep and drink water.

It can be tempting to try to tough it out and support your family members who you feel might be hurting more. But you are entitled to your feelings as much as anyone. Finally, reach out to the people you love the most and spend time with them.

Thanks for spending time with us here at How to Adult. If you have advice or stories you'd like to share about this topic, we'd love to hear what you have to say in the comments below. Grief is hard, but you don't have to tough it out alone. [♪♩OUTRO].