For those of us privileged to be working in the dying, death, and grief field talking about end of life can still be a challenge. For those not in the field who lack both training and communication skills it can be a daunting task indeed.
Challenging or daunting though it may be it is not reason enough to avoid the important end of life conversations, with family, friends and medical staff.
It may seem best to focus on the positive, a successful treatment or a great outcome avoiding all together the difficult and messy conversations about wills, advanced care directives, representation agreements, and power of attorney. It simply isn’t true.
When we avoid having these important and difficult chats we are actually denying the reality that death is possible. And yes, it is very important to intend a positive outcome – it is equally important to be prepared just in case things go south. In order to be fully positive we need to prepare for the worst. Knowing we have a plan in place if things do go south enables the family to jump fully into the positive outcome camp.
I had a friend once who was very ill and quick clearly it was probable he would die. He thought that preparing for his death was negative and would have nothing to do with it. When he did die it was a real mess of emotions, finances, and difficult decisions all that could have been prevented had he had those ‘negative’ chats with family and friends.
Have the difficult conversations now – don’t wait. If you need support hire a coach experienced in these difficult conversations. The coach will help you and your family get through the communication speed bumps family history often creates.