Reader responds: “Talking about dying is so very important”

  • Talking Points

In a Facebook response to an article on this web site, on 10th May 2021, Theresa, a reader, wrote:

Talking about dying:

I believe that talking about dying is so very important, so often people don’t discuss things until it is too late, and this makes things so much more complicated.

Brother:

My brother passed instantly at 44 so nobody had goodbye time and he hadn’t sorted insurances or pensions or a will so I had to help my poor parents deal with everything. It was a nightmare and could easily have ended in court battles with his partner. (Luckily it didn’t but it was extremely hard work).

So then my parents were great and sorted all theirs out and did a prepaid funeral.

Mum:

So when my mum passed after a 3 year battle with cancer it was a very serene and peaceful passing at home and her funeral was so personal with all her favourite things.

Dad:

And now my poor dad is facing his death in a care home due to cancer and Alzheimer’s but his funeral is sorted and I am his p.o.a. (Power of Attorney) and was able to fight when needed to keep him in this lovely care home where he knows the staff etc. Yes, it’s difficult with covid and we may not be able to be at his side but I know, because we have talked about everything, that the staff will be next to him holding his hand and reading a final letter that I have put in his file ready (again because we have all talked about it) When he passes we will grieve but also have the peace that we have all said goodbyes and he’s had a great last few years.

You:

So please do take some time out just to let your loved ones know what you want to happen at the end of your life (burial or cremation is just one question to answer.) Ideal place? Home, hospital etc.

Do you have insurance and where do you keep the documents?

Others:

I just received a letter the other day from the same company my dad uses so I know it was insurance policies for the previous tenant of our house who died about 14 years ago. So her family have never known about something that could have paid for everything. How sad. I have informed the company and provided details for them to sort it out. And I have asked her family what they want just in case emergencies happen.

Death shouldn’t be a tabu subject but more a natural part of the circle of our lives

The Authors asked Theresa if we could put what she wrote onto this web site.

She replied:

That’s absolutely fine I truly hope it helps somebody in need going through things.

Interest in ‘dying’:

When I was younger, I did an NVQ course on care work and we had to do a project to complete the course. Being me, I always think and choose out of the box and I chose to do ‘dying as the final act of caring’.

Visit to Undertaker:

I was the first person who had ever gone into our local undertakers to discuss death and the processes that are involved with caring for a body etc. They said they wished more people would talk about it as it would more than likely help them to face and grieve more easily. Until this day I have never forgotten how respectful of the deceased they were from start to finish … that very same undertaker and his sons buried my mum, and his sons will bury my dad when it’s time … which is coming more rapidly now due to his bowel cancer.

After Death:

We have no fear of where we are going after death and so it’s just the final moment of letting go which will be the hardest. All of us, including all the great grandchildren have talked about it and are as prepared as we can be.

Covid Rules:

Depending on Covid rules at the time it will be their choice each if they come to the funeral or have their own way of saying goodbye.

Children

It’s so important to help children grieve too.

When my daughter was about six she attended the wake and open coffin of our dear friend. When she went and looked at his body she called his wife over and said “ look he’s not in any pain now”. I think the whole room cried but his wife was comforted so much by those innocent words of a child seeing death. So please encourage your children to talk about it too, especially if people are ill and dying. Children are often frightened and feeling it all and need so much to express it and be reassured.

Please talk:

Hope all of this helps. We have faced many many deaths in our time with family and friends and at work too and each one has been totally different and unique. Some peaceful and expected, and others shocking and traumatic but everyone has been part of our life experience and shapes who we are and how we cope too. Please talk, talk, talk about it and save yourself and families so much added stress …