Everyone knows the saying: “There are two certainties in life - death and taxes”.
While I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t have an opinion on taxes, death is still a subject that, for most of us, remains taboo.
While other countries, such as Mexico, hold celebrations for the dead, here in the UK we still avoid having a frank and open conversation about something that comes to us all.
It isn’t an easy subject to talk about, but it is one that needs discussing, which is why I’m writing this blog to coincide with Dying Matters Week between 9 – 15 May.
Dying Matters Week aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life.
Here in mid Essex, there has been lots of work going on to support people at the end of life or those with life limiting conditions to be able to talk about dying and make plans for their care.
So why do we avoid talking about dying? It may not always be easy, but it can help you to make the most of life and to support those you care about. You have a right to say how you want to be cared for in your last days. Don’t be afraid of saying the wrong thing and don’t be afraid of discussing it with your friends, family, a GP or other healthcare professional.
Live with peace of mind by taking the initiative and making your wishes known. You can make a real difference to the lives of those close to you but planning ahead and sparing them from having to make difficult decisions.
You may want to think about what matters most to you in life and to set about doing those things you have always wanted to and, remember, you can change your plans at any time.
Tell people your wishes, don’t be afraid to ask them about theirs and remember: talking about dying doesn’t bring it any closer but having that big conversation can help you to Live Well, making the most of your life until the very end so you can Die Well.
Dr Liz Towers - Clinical Lead for end of life care.