The Most Uncomfortable Conversation that You Absolutely Need to Have

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Oh, hi, it’s me again, the blogger with the sociology degrees that really wants to get eventually get into death studies and the end of life industry.

Nothing says ‘happy holidays!’ like a blog post that tells you that you should probably have a conversation about what you want to have happen at your funeral.

Though it doesn’t have to be about your funeral, directly, and it actually started with a conversation about toilet paper.

Yep, death and toilet paper, I mean, doesn’t everyone think that this is a natural flow of events?

The conversation, which took place on Facebook went something like this: I want to bring something to my neighbors next door. Someone just died and I don’t know what would be most helpful.

Most people were supportive, with the normal ‘funeral casseroles’ comments, and suggestions to bring paper goods that no one thinks about like dish soap and toilet paper.

But there was a group of people that were almost  offended that someone use the ‘d’ word. Like, apparently, if we just ignore the fact that we are a mortal species, we just won’t die.

I’m not saying that you should be talking about this over your turkey dinner-but hey, in my social circle, we’ve had weirder conversations at group meals. But does your family know whether or not you have a DNR? Is your living will in order? Does your partner or children know how to settle your financial obligations if you were to suddenly pass? And people really do just suddenly pass. That’s the fact that people don’t seem to take into account-there is a strong possibility that you’re not going to have a slow, peaceful, lingering death well into old age with plenty of time to get your ducks into a nice, neat row.

If you have a mixed faith family, would they know how to appropriately bury you? Do they know if you should be cremated or buried? Do they know not to bury you in blue or you promise to come back and flip tables at Christmas dinner until the family line has been forgotten?

There is another side to the coin as well-there may be people in your family that are now facing their first holidays alone. Maybe if we were more comfortable with death, we’d be more comfortable with mourning. Pick up the phone and talk to the people left behind. Ask them what they need, try to connect. The pain doesn’t go away just because it’s been a few months and people want the holidays to be ‘happy’.

So yes, bring over some toilet paper, and tell your partner how to pay the light bill.

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One comment

  1. I have spoken with my daughter and best friend about this topic because I know it’s important. As much as we would like to ignore it, death will find each of us.

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