Conversations on the Horizon: Discussing Death and Preparing for End-of-Life Care November 29, 2023

Death is an inevitable part of life. Yet, despite its certainty it remains one of the least discussed subjects. Usually responded to with fear and discomfort, it’s a conversation that’s often avoided.

At Co-op Funeral Directors we want to change the narrative and get people talking. We believe you shouldn’t ignore or fear death, but recognise it’s a chance to learn, understand, and prepare.

Starting the Conversation

It’s not a conversation anyone looks forward to or wants to bring up. But, only when we engage in painful conversations can we can help to remove the stigma associated with it.

In many cultures, people consider death a taboo topic, but silence can breed fear and misunderstanding. When we begin to address the unknown, we can change the negative mindset and open our viewpoint.

Tip: Approach the topic with sensitivity and respect. Try choosing a calm, comfortable space for everyone, and let your loved one know that you want to talk about something more serious.

Use gentle statements to guide the conversation, e.g. “I’d like to talk to you about what my wishes would be if I fell seriously ill.”

When asking for their opinion, this could be followed up with, “Have you made similar after life plans?” or “What would a perfect funeral look like for you?”

When talking to children, it’s best to be direct and honest. If informing them that a loved one has died, it may bring about mixed emotions, questions, or confusion. That’s okay and to be expected. Opening a conversation about life and death with a child teaches them it’s a natural part of life and doesn’t need to be feared. They will be armed early on with the ability to process their thoughts and feelings healthily, which will benefit them into adulthood.

Emotional Support

Discussing death might produce a wide range of unexpected feelings and thoughts. It’s a time when stress levels rise, and anxiety can set in. As a result, your mental health might suffer.

Whether it’s talking to a close friend, a therapist, or finding a support group, it’s important to find an ongoing source of support. It can make the mourning process less overwhelming and help alleviate your concerns.

At Co-op Funeral Directors, we offer bereavement support to our clients so no one must face loss alone. By providing the right resources and guidance, we can support ourselves through this difficult time, and support our loved ones better in return.

Arranging Additional Care

Having a conversation on end-of-life care, although daunting and sometimes complex, is sometimes a discussion that needs to be prioritised. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, which is why tailoring an individualistic plan will help all parties feel comfortable.

When under considerable stress in difficult times like these, it can cloud judgment and leave room for irrational decisions to be made. If you feel overwhelmed, reaching out to specialists like physicians and social workers can help take some pressure off, and they can advise you on ways forward.

Through the toughness of having these talks, remember that it’s a final act of love and respect. Honouring the wishes of your loved one will allow them to pass away with dignity and peace.

Granting Final Wishes

 It’s never an easy task to make funeral arrangements for someone while they’re still with you. But it can be seen as honouring your loved ones even after they pass.  Being focused on making the most of your remaining time with those you love is common, but it’s important to think about what they’d want too.

Find courage in looking forward to the future and asking about arrangements for after they’ve gone. It may seem morbid, but this type of discussion can provide peace of mind for both parties.

Due to the sensitive nature of the topic, it’s always best to approach it with empathy and respect. Keep in mind that it’s about creating a safe space where someone can express their feelings without judgment and feel validated.

By choosing to raise the subject first, you’re lending an ear and letting them know they aren’t a burden, and they aren’t alone. They’ll also feel less guilt when trying to make necessary arrangements in front of you, for fear of causing upset.


Facing the Future

Unfortunately, there’s no rule book for what to do when someone dies. But, talking about it openly is a great start. Only through chatting with our friends and family, can we begin to understand, and prepare for those final steps in life.

Co-op Funeral Directors are here to support you. Contact us to find out more information and let us help you today.

Article written by Holly Dodd.