There are a few things we usually don’t talk about in polite company – politics and religion top the list. Being considerate about tricky topics is a good thing. Avoiding uncomfortable issues helps people feel at ease, but sometimes you have to get comfortable talking about unpleasant things. After watching a “Black-ish” rerun recently, it reminded me of the fact that there is another topic we are uncomfortable talking about with our families – death.
Death and Dying
Talking about death, dying, and making plans might feel morbid, but it is a necessary part of living. Being able to share your thoughts about things like:
- The sort of care you wish to have in the event of an accident or injury
- Whether you want to be revived or kept on life support
- Where you choose to live if you cannot live at home
- Who should make medical and other decisions on your behalf if you are not able
- funeral planning and burial choices
- Information about your will, estate administration, and other relevant issues
A Feeling of No Control
One reason it’s so difficult to discuss uncomfortable things is the feeling of having little control. The truth is, if you do not have plans in place, you’ll have no power. However, if you do have plans in place, much of your care and aftercare are definitely within your control. That is one reason for you to have talks about these issues.
Tips to Make You More Comfortable
Here are three tips to help you to get comfortable talking about uncomfortable things such as death and dying.
Do your homework. The more you know about a subject, the less uncomfortable it is. There’s nothing you can’t learn about any topic connected to the legal, financial, and medical aspects of end-of-life care. Educate yourself, and you will be well equipped to have intelligent and more comfortable talks about the subjects.
Prepare your family. If you are planning to have an uncomfortable discussion, prepare your family or friends in advance. Don’t blindside someone with an awkward topic they may not be ready for emotionally. Instead, give them some time to get prepared and be mentally prepared to absorb what you need to share.
Practice. The more often you discuss uncomfortable things, the easier it will become. Begin with professionals such as attorneys, clergy, and medical staff before talking with your family or friends. If you practice your conversation, it will help you to find the best words to use as well as become more comfortable speaking to them.
Some conversations are going to be difficult, regardless of the amount of preparation. If you can speak on uncomfortable topics with comfort, it will help those who depend on you feel safer and more prepared to act when the time comes. Doing your homework will make you more comfortable. Prepare your family for the conversation and practice your conversation beforehand.
J Thomas Smith is the host of “Sunday Morning Live” on “The People’s Station” KMJQ/Majic 102.1 (9-11 CST). He is an attorney, author, keynote speaker, substance abuse professional, and internet marketer. He is the author of the “The Secret to a New Life,” and “My Laws of Success: Making Your Dreams Reality” to be released in March 2020. Your comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @DrJThomasSmith; Instagram @drjtsmith102 and Facebook @smithlawnet.