Since our Dad died, I've been thinking a lot about death and dying.
When it was apparent that Dad was on borrowed time, we were asked whether he would want Last Rites, and we didn't know. We had never really talked to him about him dying - the only conversation was when Dad asked us to take care of our step-mum for him after he'd gone. Looking back, that might have been the perfect opportunity to talk to him about his wishes.
I now realise that we had plenty of opportunities to discuss the important things with Dad and, in fact, he had tried to instigate conversations on a few occasions. He had asked me repeatedly to take him to the Bank to sort out his money, but I kept putting it off. We had other things to worry about - things such as his hospital appointments, making him comfortable, trying to find food he would enjoy, helping with feeding him, trying to cheer him up - but also, I didn't want Dad to think that we were more concerned about money than about him. These weren't conversations I wanted to have and to do so would have been admitting to myself that I knew Dad was dying.
Ideally, we should have those conversations, but if we don't, it does makes sense to put things in place to make things easier for those we leave behind. Age UK produce a really useful LifeBook, where you can record important details of your life such as personal information, your contacts, where you keep important documentation, property, etc. There's also a section where you can record your funeral wishes. You can get a copy here. Loros Hospice also have a short form where you can record your funeral wishes and you can download it by clicking the button below. If you haven't made a will, it might be a good idea to think about that. Many charities offer a will writing service in return for a donation or a gift in your will, and you might want to think about a pre-paid funeral too - our Dad had arranged his, so it made our visit to the funeral director much smoother.
Finally, Dr Kathryn Mannix, who has spent her medical career working with people who have incurable, advanced illnesses says:
"......the process of dying is made less frightening and more peaceful, the better prepared we are. Knowing what to expect, and knowing what our dear ones will see as we die, helps people to plan, to speak to each other openly and honestly, and to relax. It also helps people to enjoy each day as it arises, instead of fearing a sudden and unexpected onset of dying, because usually, death approaches us gradually".
As always, your comments are welcome.
I'm Krystina (Tina) Spicer, NLP Practitioner, Life Coach, Stress Management and Resilience Trainer and Hypnotherapist and want to use my skills to help other people deal with the challenges of ageing and live full, productive and happier lives.