Don’t Delay Discussing Death
Having the conversation about death is never easy. Many of us don’t want to think about dying, never mind talk about it. We might be afraid of what comes after death, or feel like we are invincible. Or, as my grandmother used to say, we simply may be “scared to death of dying.”
But death happens to the best and the rest of us. It’s better to discuss our wishes while we are physically and mentally healthy, rather than expect people to know what we want when we are too far gone to tell them.
So, just how do we start the conversation? Some choose to take a direct route, and sit their loved ones down for a family meeting. Others may start the conversation with a story and then lead into their wishes. Sometimes, you can depersonalize the conversation by speaking of others who have died. For example,
- “Remember how hard it was for Jill when Jack died? She didn’t know where any of the assets were and it took her years to sort it all out. Can we make some plans now so we don’t go through the same thing?”
- Can you believe that Prince died without a will? It’s going to take years to sort out his estate. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen to us.
- “It was so hard seeing Mike on life support. His family never knew what his wishes were. What would you want to happen in that situation?”
Or, as I said to my mother the other day, “I am not afraid of you dying because of your health or your age, I am afraid that with all the crazies out there something will happen suddenly.”
As with any difficult topic, the more you speak of it, the easier the conversation becomes.
We have found two really good resources to start the conversation – the first is easy to remember: The Conversation Project. It’s a simple guide to help you raise the subject gently and appropriately. The second is a document called Five Wishes. With this document, you don’t even have to have a conversation, you just complete it and hand it over.
That being said, Five Wishes only helps you record your end of life plans. There is so much more that you can share. With My Life’s Message, you not only record your end of life plans, but we prompt you to document how you want to be remembered. You’ll be able to leave messages for important people in your life, and you’ll be able to guide them to all your important information. You will have the peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be carried out to your exact specifications, and your family will have just a little less stress during a difficult time.