This topic came to light years ago in the late 90s as my grandmother was aging and losing the ability to care for herself. Her daughter, my mom, tried having “the conversation” with her so that we all would be prepared and have her affairs in order but it was no use. Nana was old school and talking about death was not allowed. As a result, the inevitable decline in my nana’s mental and physical health continued and my mom scrambled and fought as best she could so that all might be in place. It was an emotional struggle that resonated strongly with me. It was because of this struggle that my parents had “the conversation” with me. They wanted to spare me the pain and frustration that they had just gone through.
Now I am an ER nurse and have been working in emergency medicine since 2002. I’ve seen many deaths, mostly unexpected, and it pains me to see how so many people have not discussed end of life plans. My wife and I both work in medicine and we were more than prepared to talk about this and have our paperwork filled out and we both know our wishes. It is such a necessary conversation and the stigma of death has to be wiped away. Currently, the ratio of births to deaths is still hovering at around 1:1 and I don’t expect it will change anytime soon. Death is coming. I don’t say that to be scary. It’s just a fact that has to be accepted, not feared, so we can then openly discuss our wishes while we still have control and also not be an unnecessary burden to the ones we love and who love us so much.