Death, why don't we talk about it?

I wrote this on my personal facebook page regarding the recent death of my husband and how it’s been for me these last few months, “if I can get others to talk about death with their significant other and be more aware of what they may face down the road, than it was worth sharing how my journey goes. As others have said, it truly is an individual journey and no two are the same. But, I think having the conversations while both are still here would make that road a little lighter for the one left behind.”

And my good friend asked, “any guidance on how to start this conversation and what to say?”

Here are my thoughts.

Throughout this time of grieving I have often thought about how we don’t prepare ourselves. We all know that, one day, we will find ourselves facing this, but yet we don’t talk about it. We talk about life, we talk about birth, we talk about everything under the sun, but we avoid any discussion about death. And if you are one who tries to talk about death, you probably get the “don’t be morbid” lecture. At least we avoid it as much as possible, or we wait until one happens and we have to talk about it. The strange thing is, that from the moment we are born, we begin the dying process. Dying is as much a part of living, as being born. No one escapes it, let’s talk about it!

If you are a part of a loving relationship, where each of you consider yourselves to be “soulmates” or each other’s “other half”, the chances are that one will pass before the other. It is rare that two will pass at the same time. So, one of you will lose that “other half”. How will life be without your other half there to comfort, to talk with and to share everything with?
When my husband passed away, it quickly dawned on me that I had spent the rest of his life with him, but that he would not be spending the rest of my life with me (which was the plan!). And while we did make wills and we talked about what each should do, if something were to happen to the other, we did not talk about how it would be for the one left behind or what we thought about it all. Create a will? Check! Funeral arrangements, or none? Check! Services or none? Check! How to dispose of the remains? Check! How life will be for the one still on earth? Nada!

So, why is it that we don’t talk about it? I’ve even tried to talk to my friends about the most minimal of death things, creating a will and I just get avoidance or resistance. Most likely because to talk about creating a will, one must think or talk about death. The subject that we would all most like to avoid, but cannot avoid it actually taking place. And I am not talking about “how” it will happen, because actually how it takes place does not matter. What matters is how will life be for the one left here.

Would it be comforting to know what your significant other's desires are for you, if you should be the person left behind? I think so. I know we could all generalize what a person would “want” for another, but it’s not the same as a discussion for those actually involved. A simple statement like, “You know I am going to miss you terribly when you are gone”, might start a conversation. Or, “if I should pass before you, I hope that you will continue to enjoy life for as long as you live”, might be nice to hear. Starting a conversation can be as simple as saying, “you know that the likelihood is that we will not both die at the same time, maybe we could talk about our feelings about that.” You might be surprised what the other has to say (or not). We discuss all our big decisions and situations in life, shouldn’t we talk about the biggest situation to come? We talk about the beginning, we talk about the middle, shouldn’t we talk about the end?

I know that approaching the subject at all, is not easy. But I think it is important enough that everyone at least try. Being the one “left behind” is hard, it’s painful and it will be the worst time in your life. Some of the little things that have comforted me have been the notes, cards and little letters that my husband left behind (thankfully, I have lots of those). But how much better would it have been had we merely just talked about our feelings about life after death for the one left here? I think it would have been infinitely better. So, my suggestion to you, is just try to have those conversations now, while you can, because you never know when you will not have that option.    KJ @ KJ-isms

When to Quit

My husband was always saying, "a smart man knows when to quit". I would smile when he said it, but I never really thought about it or understood what he was saying, until now. A smart person does know when to quit, but we aren't always smart about doing it. Knowing when to quit, whether it is a job that has become stale and boring, or a hobby that no longer holds your interest, a volunteer position that you may have held too long, or whatever it is, it is important to leave... at the top of your game, that is the "when". Don't wait for it to become a chore!

Unfortunately, quitting has taken a bad rap. There will be times when quitting is the right thing to do and it's not because you are "giving up", it's because you know you are done and you have given it all you have to give. Perhaps it is time for someone else to grab that task and carry on. Every thing we do brings something to us and gives something to others. When you have given it all you can give and those that receive have received all they can from your efforts, it is time to move to another new adventure! Like an artist with a painting, knowing when to quit is what gives the painting it's beauty.

Folks, it's ok to say, "I quit".  KJ

Wanting what you have

There is an old song (a lot of wisdom in songs), "you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need." The key is in seeing that you have all you need right now and then discovering that you love what you have. And if you love what you have, then you truly have all you want. Want what you have, than you will have all you want and you will want for nothing. KJ

Helping Others

Maybe we are not here to save the whole world. Perhaps we are here to just help one person. As it has been said many times, you might not be able to do everything, but each of us can do something. If each person did one thing, to make another's life better, imagine how much nicer our world would be for all of us. We can do it, one "kind gesture" at a time. KJ

What Love looks like

What love looks like. I was placing an item into my granddaughters “memory book” and I found an image that showed me what love looks like.   When I saw the photo of the item, I immediately knew that it represented love. As I gazed at the image, I realized that every piece of it was love.   The little card dangling from the pink ribbon, was hand done, with love.   The printing on the card itself, was placed there with love.   The tiny grains of sugar and cinnamon were poured in with love. The little pink ribbons, were cut, placed and tied with love.   Each cap was screwed on with love.   Even the tape covering the holes (so it wouldn’t spill) were adhered on with love. This is what love looks like. It looks like the little things we do for the people we care about. They don’t have to be monumental tasks or ones that last forever, they are just done with love in the moment. Isn’t that what we all want, love in this moment of time? When you are seeking out what love looks like, look at the little things first. KJ @ KJ-isms  

 

Relationships are two way streets

All relationships are two way streets. It doesn't matter who that relationship is with, it's a give and take situation. No relationship will survive when one is all give and the other is all take. It has to flow back and forth. You give a little and you take a little, they give a little and they take a little. Balancing the give and take is one of the keys to a healthy and long lasting relationship. KJ @ KJ-isms

 

 

Education leads to understanding. Understanding leads to tolerance. Tolerance leads to acceptance.  KJ 

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