I wrote a few days ago about this topic. You can read about it here:
In the above post, I covered reasons why we are afraid to talk about death and how to change that.
A deafening silence about death.
We no longer feel comfortable naming death, and we’ve lost the etiquette that told us how to support the dying and bereaved.
We avoid talking about death and if someone dies, we use euphemisms like he passed on or he passed away. We are uncomfortable and afraid to hurt people, which is not a bad thing as such, but we try to soften the event of death.
It's not the in-thing to talk about death, it became even impolite, so, we avoid it all together.
Perhaps it’s even becoming rude to die.
People not only stop saying the words, but also stop considering their own mortality. In the UK only 40% of adults have written a will and only 6% have nominated lasting power of attorney. You will need a power of attorney to make medical decisions when you are temporary or permanent unable to do it yourself.
This is where the problem of not talking about death comes in. We don't plan for death although it is an event that everyone will experience.
Why did it happen?
In the past there was familiarity with this as people often died at home but this was replaced by modern medicine creating the expectation that the sick will be nursed back to health and will return to work and family life.
The once familiar process of dying became overlooked as hospitals used newly developed drugs, machines and operations to postpone death.
Death itself became a failure to save a life; an unwanted medical outcome; an adverse event. An increasingly secular society drifted from traditional spiritual practices around a deathbed, but found no new rituals to replace them.
We have lost the etiquette that told us how to visit the dying and support the bereaved.
Why you should talk about your death and plan for it.
If you love and care about your family you should plan for your death to make it easier on them when you die. The other most important reason is to set out a plan of what you want and not at the end of your life.
1. Make sure you have funeral cover.
In the event of you dying you wants to ensure that your family has the means to give you a burial or cremation. Make sure your family knows your wishes in this regard.
If you want to you can even plan your own funeral. I had a friend that died from cancer. She arranged everything beforehand with the funeral parlour.
2. Draw up a will.
Every person young or old must make plans for what happens when you die. You should draw up a will that will express your wishes in regards to your possessions, and what should happen to it in the event of you dying.
3. Appoint a power of attorney.
This is a person who can make legal and financial decisions on your behalf when you are still alive but cannot make the decisions yourself.
Make sure there is a record of all your pins and passwords that you also use online.
4. Pick a guardianship person.
This should be a person that exactly knows what your wishes is for your care in your last years and days.
This person can be a close family member who can make medical and social decisions when you can't.
You can specify if you are at home what you would want and need in your last days like:
- What kind of music to play in your room?
- Lightning of aromatic candles and/or incense?
- Do you want flowers in your room?
- Who do want to sit with you?
- Who do you don't want with you?
- Do you want someone to read to you and what?
- Maybe, you would like to wear make-up, be dressed nicely or dressed comfortable.
Planning the above can give you a lot of reassurances and also will help your loved ones in your last days to know that they are doing things that you like.
Loved ones can feel very helpless in such times and this can give them purpose.
Together you can draw up a medical treatment plan or an advance directive that express your wishes when you are:
- in a coma
- seriously injured
- terminally ill
- have severe dementia.
Such a plan is also called an advance directive. The following end-of-life issues should be covered like:
- Should you be ventilated and for how long?
- Should you be tube fed and for how long?
- Palliative care - keeps you comfortable and manages pain.
- If possible would you rather die at home?
- Specify if you want to donate your organs, tissues or body?
- Should you be resuscitated or not when your heart stops?
5. Plan to keep your memory alive
You can make a video for your loved ones to play after you are gone. It may sound grim, but you would know if your family would appreciate something like that and what to say.
You can make a memory box with photos, cards, special messages that would trigger happy memories.
6. Spiritual planning
Part of your planning is to see a spiritual leader, like a priest or a pastor. It can be helpful to understand the spiritual side of dying.
You should strive to get peace and be at peace with family and friends. If there are issues a spiritual person or psychologist can help with this.
Death is a very personal experience.
You have to prepare for your own death. We normally do a lot of planning for the start of life, a new birth, why not for the end of your life?
The more we are able to accept death as something natural, part of the life cycle, the easier it will be to plan for good and better deaths.
Picture source: https://theconversation-com.cdn.ampproject.org
Thank you for reading.