We discussed in another blog the topic of a death party, which, essentially was giving us a method to talk about death, dying and the end of life requests we have. Well we found another organization, Dying Matters, that also works to breach this taboo subject.

Why do we want people to talk about death?

We see lots of families who have lost a loved one and they aren’t really sure on the requests of the deceased. Some people think one thing is true and others believe another. This ambiguity can lead to family conflict and during a time of grief is not a good time for fighting.

We also want to change the funeral experience on its head and make it more about the life celebration of the loved one than a somber, dark and depressing (and sometimes meaningless) tradition.

When we allow ourselves to talk about end of life topics with our loved ones, we can get sad, angry or a variety of other emotions. It is the desire to not feel these prematurely that make us steer away from the conversations entirely. But there is tremendous value in talking about the subject.

Why?

  1. When we are clear about our end of life decisions, we can help reduce tension and conflict for those left behind. Hopefully you won’t be in a position where you need to make a medical decision for someone close to you who is unable to do it for themselves. But, if you do, don’t you want to be clear that you are doing exactly as they would wish? Without these critical conversations, you are allowing someone else to guess about your intentions, or to follow what they value- which may or may not be in alignment with what you would like. Under what circumstances do you want life support and in what cases do you not?
  2. When we are clear about our end of life decisions, we can know what things need to be in place to help support our loved ones with the transition. This can be setting up pre-arrangements, funding options and plans for burial or cremation. Do you want to be buried in a family plot or your ashes scattered in an area that holds significance?
  3. Most people don’t actually have their wishes be followed. Why? Because they simply aren’t communicated. Because death in our society is perceived so negatively, we don’t want to talk about it. It’s just too depressing. But death is the one inevitable thing we will face that we can make decisions about. Do you want to pass at home? What do you want celebrated when you pass?

When it comes to the topic of death and dying, it is important to make your wishes known. And having those wishes in writing is important, but they shouldn’t been seen only after you pass. Talk about the things you want, talk about it often and early. Your family and friends want to honor you and they want to be given direction on making that happen.