The Conversation You Aren’t Having

Death is a somewhat taboo topic in our society, and this is in many ways unfortunate.

Have you had a conversation about death with your loved ones?   If you haven’t done so, it can deeply impact your final days, cause you and your loved ones a lot of grief, and cost your estate a small fortune in very real dollars and cents.

While many may initially feel uncomfortable at the thought of discussing death, a large number of people actually find that once they do so, they feel good about having done so, and oftentimes even feel more fully prepared to embrace life each day.

So how do you begin?   You can start off by talking about some basics, such as how you want to be remembered, or how you would rather go.  You may also want to talk about how you’ve handled losses you’ve experienced, and what you’ve learned from them about what you do and don’t want for your self.

Surveys suggest that the majority of people want to die at home, yet only a small percentage do – yet that can readily be changed with a few steps. You may want to ensure you talk about what kind of end-of-life care you would or wouldn’t want.  If you haven’t taken the important steps of filling out a DNR, Durable Power of Attorney, and Living Will, you should talk about this with your loved ones, and then actively fill them out – it actually can be done rather quickly.   Make sure you let them know where the documents are, and that you’ve filed them with the appropriate institutions.

You would also benefit from discussing with loved ones what you want done with your remains, and how you want to be remembered.   Knowing that they are doing what you would have wanted can go a long way toward comforting them at a time when they will be grieving your loss -and the same is true of your knowing their wishes.

While these conversations may feel a bit awkward at first, it is more because we have been conditioned by society to look the other way.   You will likely find that once you open up, you move through them just fine, and that you feel better for having them.   While we aren’t encouraging you to make your whole life about death, we are inviting you to not ignore the fact that it exists.  It is for this reason that I began my Salon Mort conversations and artistic explorations back in ’06.   With our Salon Mort gatherings, we’ve found that people feel more comfortable for having explored their questions about death, and expressed them through a variety of ways – at Salon Mort that could be through intellectual conversation, music, art, literature, or even games.

I encourage you to find a way to make room for this conversation with your loved ones.   You can do it casually or you can visit to either find an event near you, or to find guidelines for holding your own event.    We always think we have time.  I’ve met people who lost a loved one in their 90s, but never had the conversation with them, thinking there would always be more time.  None of us know how many life moments we’ve been given.   Have the conversation now, and free up your mind to more fully embrace life today and hereafter, knowing your affairs are in order.