Do you have a will? Or an end of life plan? Do you know what plans your family members for their end of life?
We all have ideas about how we want to spend our last days, and what we want (or don’t want) to happen. However, research shows that 75% of us have not had end of life discussions and less than 10 percent of us die with an advanced care plan1. By leaving families and the people we love to make difficult decisions alone, it is no surprise that many of us struggle.
Dying To Know Day is an annual day of action dedicated to bringing to life conversations and community actions around death, dying and bereavement.
I learned from first-hand experience the importance of having these conversations and putting plans in place. When my husband Stuart and I were in our early thirties, we bought a house. As part of the process, our solicitor had us complete wills, which went into specific detail about our end of life plans, including appointing an enduring power of attorney and what we wanted for our funerals. We even chose venue and all the songs, flowers and readings. I thought it was silly at the time, but we treated it like we were organising one last party.
When Stuart was killed in an accident about five years later, I was so relieved to have all those plans in writing. All the decisions about Stuart's funeral had been made, by him. It was a huge relief for our family. Having his wishes in writing meant we could give him the send-off he really wanted.
Knowing what you want to happen when you die makes life easier for everyone. It's so important that we plan ahead and open up to each other about our wishes to protect the people we love. Although this won't remove the pain when someone dies, it will certainly help to navigate through the early days.
What plans do you have?