Choosing to tackle difficult conversations regarding just about any topic seems to get parked on the back burner when people engage in conversations on a daily basis. That certainly appears to be the case when one brings up the topic of death and dying.
If a topic is not deemed “urgent” or necessary” during the normal ebb and flow of our busy packed days and nights, we tend to put it aside, hoping for a better time or a better place to have that difficult chat.
I am here to encourage you to buck that trend!
“Talk early, and talk often” is my new motto. After all, you never know when the inevitable will happen!
Here’s an interesting article about Death over Dinner discussions. Hundreds of people in 250 cities got together to have separate dinner parties to specifically talk about life and death. Wow!
If only I had known. I personally would have liked to either have been a guest at one of those dinners or a host!
This TED talk discusses the moments of change that come out of breaking bread at a shared dinner table discussing death. I believe that when you get a group of friends, family members, or even strangers together and just start the conversation, generally everyone has and wants to share a story.
Sharing stories allows others to let down their guard, feel a bit more comfortable, and begin to ease into a discussion about death, when, initially, they were probably thinking “well that’s a bit morbid!”
There is also a group in NYC that meet at a “Death Cafe” to discuss death. Again, I am fascinated by this and if given the chance, would pull up a chair with my skinny latte and dive into the conversation.
Why? Because I have become comfortable talking about death. I am no longer afraid to have the conversation, or ask a difficult question, or think about my own wishes and intentions while seeking to learn those of my family members.
Recently, our family attended the visiting hours to pay our respect to the father of a wonderful friend and colleague who died. We took our teen daughter with us. As we wound our way slowly in the back of a long line passing by and observing the ancient wallpapered funeral home walls she began to talk. We continued to inch our way closer to the family members of the deceased, waiting for our hugs and words of sympathy. She remarked that when she dies, she wants us to skip all the traditional format of visiting hours, memorial services and funerals, and just throw a big party for all of her family and friends. “Have fun! Celebrate my life!” is what she said.
And I shall honor that, when the time comes…but not anytime soon ok?
In the meantime, our open, sporadic conversations and comments about death and dying will continue so that our wishes will be heard, and known and noted.
Talk early, and talk often. You won’t ever regret having had the conversation.
Share with me if you have ever had a dinner party conversation about death.
How did you feel discussing the topic? What did you learn?