Awhile back, I read In Love by Amy Bloom. This book focuses on her Husband’s decision to go to Dignitas for a compassionate death.

Yeah.

I know.

Not exactly light and pleasant reading or conversation.

I tried to have a conversation with my Husband about this book- not because anything is wrong with either of us, but more as a concept, or a what if scenario.

He shut me down completely. Got mad and wouldn’t discuss it.

So my question is:

Should we discuss subjects that we don’t want to hear? Aren’t those the very subjects that should be discussed, so that everyone is clear on where they stand?

I’m not asking your opinion of Dignitas, or anything like this. That’s a minefield I don’t want to talk about in a forum like this, so watch your comments if you give an opinion…

What I want to know is:

Should we discuss things like this with our loved ones, in a calm manner and in a private setting?

81 thoughts on “The Things We Don’t Talk About

      1. I knew someone who worked in palliative care who showed me a deck of cards they use to start a conversation about death. Different cards had different questions or statements to enable the conversation or even the person to start thinking about topics surrounding death that most seem to avoid until it’s too late. We definitely need to treat death differently.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There was a quote I heard in a movie once about how death makes everything more worthwhile. If we had all the time in the world, what would be the point of doing something today? There’d always be a tomorrow.

        It stuck with me, but I still would like to be (and have my loved ones be) immortal 🙃

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I used to think that, but it depends on how the life is. I see my Dad…he’s had two different cancers in three years, he’s in so many meds he can’t think straight. I don’t think I’d want him like this forever

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I thought of that after I’d responded to you. But then it means bad people, the people who did you wrong would be right along there with you. If nothing ever ends, do we progress?

        Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s a tough subject. I’m a planner and I want to talk about it. My husband wants me to bury him in the backyard. I just decided to talk about what I want and maybe in time he will talk about it.

      Liked by 4 people

  1. You won’t be surprised to find out I agree – it’s an important subject to discuss in an open & honest manner. It may be considered morbid when in your twenties or thirties, but in your fifties and above, it’s reasonable and could save a lot of family pain later.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Absolutely YES! I’ve had this convo with the kids many times and those things are, in part, also in my will. I would bet though that if I was still married someone may not have been too willing to speak on things. The only comment I can remember on his part was an emphatic order not to use a specific funeral home because of his long-standing grudge against someone who once worked there… that’s a perfect example of mature and thoughtful end of life planning don’t you think?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You need to have your hubby give me a call. I have had this conversation, multiple times. One of the families we meet with for church with has been having some serious health issues, and he and I have had several conversations on this most important, relevant topic. Our culture has become so disconnected from end of life issues.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. We should not only have those discussions, but we should document them using the many advance directives and end-of-life forms available. And those documents should be kept with wills and other important papers. That may be the last, best gift we leave our loved ones–so they don’t have to make difficult decisions at a time of extreme stress. My husband says just stick him outside on garbage day. Do you know where I can buy an extra-large can?

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I agree it is a topic that needs to be discussed and prepared for. But for some people you need to lead up to it. For example in a week I would like to have this discussion, can we decide when? Pour some wine, and make it a normal conversation. Make an appointment with a lawyer if you are going to use one. Start the momentum slowly.

    I suspect none of us expect death too soon, and then when something happens, and we are calling 911, it’s too late to work on the paperwork.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I would argue that it’s irresponsible not to plan for the future to a certain degree. What degree obviously will depend on the person/couple. If a spouse wants to talk about something, I think it is our obligation to put aside our fears, etc. and have the discussion.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. We should. I don’t know why we stray so far from conversations about death. For example, my in laws don’t want to discuss insurance or arrangements with my husband, and I’m not sure why that is. No one wants to be surprised or have to make some literal life/death decision on their own.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I see there is a conference on the subject next week. Gradually we are learning to talk about and plan for death. Many other cultures have always dealt with this very well, but ours has had many taboos. For instance, royal children at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth: I believe they used to be banned from funerals.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Discussion is necessary but definitely not easy. I told my wife I wanted her to put some of my ashes in a painting, she said she would keep some of me in a vial in a necklace, for levity I suggested being stuffed by a taxidermist in a goofy cute pose with a recording saying “hey” in a very flamboyant way that makes her laugh. No longer existing has plagued my thoughts for too many decades, it’s really challenging for me to make this a serious priority.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Totally respect your thoughts and opinion. But think of it this way…my husband and I were raised different religions which have different views on this. At the worst moment of my, my daughters and/or my husbands life, do we want to 1) mourn and grieve 2) have to make major decisions or 3) deal with family who has different ideas of what should happen

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I meant…say I die. If we haven’t talked and written things down, I leave my family needing to make those decisions. My parents are going to have different ideas than my husband and daughter will because of religion or lack there of

        Like

  8. There are many things, apart from the one you are speaking of, are difficult to have a discussion on with your family members or sometimes with close friends because they are not ready or receptive enough to be on the same page as you are. One must give them time. Sensitive things should be discussed at the right time or when the time is ripe for such talks.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There is no quantification. You have to keep on broaching the subject(s) subtly. See the reaction…gauge the receptivity so on and so forth.

        There is always the possibility that a person may never come around to dis cussing such issues due to certain deeper and sub conscious reasons. Patience is the essence.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I most certainly think this should be discussed with family and friends who are close to us. They need to know our thoughts on this and other troubling questions. Of course, we know that time to discuss these sensitive things must be carefully chosen, but what if a close one dies and we have not had that discussion?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. If you are talking about the practical aspects, which I gather from the comments, it’s important. You should write it down somewhere and let him know your part of the decision. But if it is death per se then that’s difficult. No one can prepare themselves for the ultimate end of his or her near and dear ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We should discuss these hard topics, but not everyone is ready to discuss it at the same time as their loved ones. Everyone brings a different background to even the possibility of that discussion. I think sometimes we don’t even know ourselves what is holding us back, so how could others know or understand the cause of our hesitation.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. These are incredibly important conversations to have! Delaying them doesn’t make the issue go away, but it could make a difference in abiding by someone’s preferences. I think when people get mad about this type of conversation, it’s fear-based. But that’s just my opinion. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My idiot ex, at the very beginning of our relationship, told me he expected to die young. Great thing to hear when I was pregnant with our first child, right? IDK, though, maybe this subject is one of the reasons he has now moved on to wife #4. Now she is stuck taking care of him, come what may. I kept hoping he was right and his would be an early death. Now I fear I may have put a kinehora on myself.

    I was fortunate in that my parents had already made their funeral arrangements well in advance. I hope/plan to do something similar for the benefit of my children, maybe at the same time as I start working on yet another iteration of my will/trust! Maybe thinking/talking about this subject TOO far in advance is not a good thing?

    Liked by 1 person

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