Talking about death is an important step in helping the family to deal with the impending death of a family member. Although families often tend to avoid the subject, or treat it as taboo, talking about death is easier than you may think. After all, who doesn't realize they are eventually going to die? The problem lies in fully accepting it and in being comfortable in talking about dying with those we love.
Approaching the sensitive issues surrounding this with family members and loved ones can be a loving way to help everyone prepare for the eventual passing of a family member. And it's important to involve the dying person in the discussion.
In general, families may have a hard time accepting death. They tend to avoid discussing medical problems and chronic illnesses until they are forced, by circumstances, to do so; however, it is much healthier to talk about the family's feelings about the illness or eventual death of someone who has a terminal disease ahead of time.
Talking about death puts everyone at ease and allows people to express their true wishes and communicate their concerns. And it makes it easier for the family to adjust when the death of a loved one occurs. Preparation is the key.
My suggestion, after working with many families who were dealing with death, is to just jump in and do it. Those who are ill and facing death are relieved to talk about it with loved ones. It provides a way of expressing feelings, the dying person's wishes and allows the family to prepare the family for the future.
Encourage every family member to speak from the heart and offer their point of view. All views are welcome. Everyone should listen and support one another. Be prepared to talk about death many times, not just once, as family members will need time to air all of their thoughts and feelings about this critical subject.
If members of the family are having trouble accepting death, try these tips.
1. Think about life and death as being two sides of the same coin, instead of as separate and opposite states. Each one is an essential part of the process of living. It's often helpful to view death as a transition, but not an end. There are many positive ways to reframe death.
2. Realize death does not have to be viewed as a terrible or awful event to be feared; instead, death can be understood and embraced as a normal aspect of life, such as a peaceful journey, and faced in a courageous manner. And talking about death can actually be a positive experience.
3. Take heart form those who have gone through a life-changing Near Death Experience (NDE) . . . many have come back to say how beautiful and wonderful their experience was. Many NDEers lose their fear of death and think much more positively about death after their experience.
4. Talking about death with loved ones may seem difficult at first, but it brings a sense of relief and comfort, and is much easier to do once you get started. You don't have to worry about bringing the subject up since most people will willingly talk about death, and they'll be glad you mentioned it!
5. If you have fears and concerns about death, just discussing it can make us feel better. Others can help us to become stronger and more resilient, and give us a healthier framework for comprehending death, and in facing the inevitability of death. Talk to someone who has had a near death experience. Their attitude is uplifting.
6. Go ahead and say the things you're afraid to say. The discussion of a sensitive subject can bring about a cathartic experience! Don't let fear keep you from following the dictates of conscience.
7. Include children in your discussion, so they are not left out and left wondering. Remember to keep the discussion developmentally appropriate.
Accepting death and its inevitability is a good challenge that brings many benefits. You can live a happier life by facing death and talking to your loved ones about it. Death can help us to take life more seriously.
You can help loved ones who are facing death by opening the door to frank discussions about their feelings and wishes. Remember, those who have had a near death experience, tend to lose their fear of death. They see death in a different light than other people. The more you come to terms with death, the less anxious and afraid you'll be. Death is a journey to be understood, not feared... understood and embraced in a healthy, matter-of-fact way.
Talking about death is a good way to help your family prepare for the death of a loved one. Instead of avoiding the issue, discussing it in a frank and open manner will prove to be a rewarding experience.