Afraid to Talk About Dying?
Why are we so afraid to talk about dying, our own or someone else’s?
I have a booklet about living with a life threatening illness. It is basically about putting your house in order before you die. It is my least selling booklet, it should be my best.
We are all dying. Life is a terminal illness. Yet we live our lives as if we were immortal to counteract the unspoken fears: “if I talk about dying then I will die;” “If I make plans regarding my death, if I outline my wishes of how I want my dying experience to be, then I will hasten my death;” “But if I ignore dealing with all end of life issues, they won’t happen to me or to my loved ones.”
As the result, for one of the biggest, most important experiences of our lives we are the least prepared and therefore the most vulnerable and scared. Whatever happened to the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared?”
Major religions teach life everlasting; life continues only better. Many religions teach that we will be rewarded for our good endeavors, our good behavior, and our good intentions. If the above is what we truly believe and have practiced in our living then why do we hold on to this life so fiercely? A big factor is that we don’t want to leave what we do know and another factor is that we are afraid of we don’t know.
Even though our religions teach a belief about the after life, how do we really know it is true? We don’t, yet I think that questioning is less a sign of weakness in our belief system and more reflective of an acknowledgment of our humanness.
Facing our mortality is a courageous act. It is a mature, thoughtful act and although it places us outside of our comfort zone of denial it provides guidance for those we leave behind. It relieves those we care about from making decisions for us that they may wrestle with for the rest of their lives. Facing our own mortality, having a Living Will, assigning a Medical Durable Power of Attorney, making our wishes known in regard to how we want to experience our final act of living, is one of the greatest gifts of love we can give to those we care about.
Link to a free download of an Advance Directive: lifecaredirectives.com/statutory.html