How to talk about death

There are so many difficult conversations to be had in life, but the hardest one of all is the one about death. Whether you talk to children or to elderly grandparents, death is a topic that remains the hardest out there. It’s probably because no one knows what to expect with death. We can all have educated guesses, and science can take us a certain way, but no one really knows. Those that do? Well, they cannot come back and explain to the living what it’s like. 

The thing is, death is something that every single living person is going to experience in some way or another. We all deal with working out the breakdown of funeral costs, talking about our wishes and discussions surrounding our estate. Usually, we have these conversations with a crack legal team. We should be talking to each other, and while it’s an uncomfortable conversation to have, it’s one that we need to have with our loved ones. 

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Instead of shying away from the conversation, we need to embrace it. We should be normalising death as a part of life, not as something to fear. We should be talking about the one thing that we all have in common: we all die at some point. There are books out there to help you to have this conversation with children. There are plenty of guides that also tell you how to broach the subject with parents. When it comes down to it, though, it takes courage to open the conversation and tell people you love what you want the most.

You should feel empowered to talk about death, and confident to discuss what you would like when it comes to organ donation and other things related to death. You should also make a point of listening to loved ones when they discuss what they want from their own deaths. Talking about funerals is sad, but sadness and grief are a big part of the picture.

You have to ask the right questions. What do they want for their funerals? What are their wishes in regard to organ donations and extended life support? All of these hard questions require answers and you can get those answers if you ask about it. Understanding health conditions that you are dealing with that are terminal often opens the conversations surrounding death, but you need to be prepared before that.

It’s not easy, but it is a must, and you can make death a talking point at any time you like. If you want to discuss death with children, try not to fluff it with stories of stars in the sky, and you should use the word “dead” when discussing what happens in the end. Children need honesty and they will be comfortable talking to you about it if you make it comfortable from the start. Eventually, this will be an easy conversation that you can have with anyone, you just have to be willing to get a little uncomfortable first!

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