Difficult Conversations, Part One

by Lisa Rosen on March 28, 2011

I had one of those conversations with my kids on Saturday.  You know, the ones you know you ought to have, but never quite work up the nerve for?

This one was about death, the process of dying, and my wishes for my end-of-life care.

Yep.  The whole nine yards.

They already knew that I want to be cremated; I’ve been very clear about that all their lives.  But we got into the nitty-gritty of life support, and DNR orders, and pulling the plug, and how Lee and I would want them to make those decisions, when the time comes.

I think it helped that we had the conversation a) when it came up, not at some random time that I designated, and b) now, when we’re (relatively) young and healthy, with no major health issues looming.

Interestingly, the thing that seemed to sink in the most was when they started to snipe at each other (because that’s what they do), and I interrupted them, saying that they’d better remember that one day, they’ll be making this decision together.

We’ll revisit the topic, of course–it’s not something you just mention once, then ignore.  But at least it’s on the table now, and not some scary, morbid elephant-in-the-room that no one’s willing to talk about.

Another interesting tidbit:  I tweeted about our conversation on Saturday, and was surprised at the number of responses I got.  I had no idea it would strike such a chord.  One guy I chat with regularly said he had recently seen a statistic that said 67% of men are too uncomfortable to discuss life insurance with their SPOUSE.

Wow.  People:  if you have an opinion about how you want your last days to be, you need to have these conversations with your family.  Chances are good that they’ll be calling the shots.

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