We talk about the weather, our weekend, sports and our holidays with ease….so why is it so difficult to talk about our life’s journey and our end of life wishes?
It is natural for us to want to downplay our importance, and avoid burdening those closest to us with our wishes.
However, initiating conversations to recognize our loved ones’ intrinsic need to remember and celebrate their life and achievements, and share their plans for their future, is the key to understanding why these conversations are extremely important.
What most people need is a reason or a little bit of encouragement to kick-start these conversations.
An easy way to kick-start these conversations
Finding a way to start these discussions with someone special is usually the most challenging part. However, you will find that once the conversation starts, it will quickly progress to a natural flow.
To help families break the ice, Your Life Talks have created two sets of 50 Conversation Starter cards called ‘Your Life Story’ and ‘Your Life Wishes’.
Talking about your life’s journey and recalling your fondest memories and life experiences can be lots of fun, and the importance of having a conversation with your family about your end of life wishes will give peace of mind to all concerned.
Why have these talks?
Your Life Story – Everything in our life, from the mundane to the extraordinary, is a story waiting to be told.
Our life journey encompasses so many experiences. It is a tapestry of milestones and memories that come to mind when we reflect on our lives.
However, our life story is much more than just the big moments. There are the important events that shape our lives – childhood, first job, meeting a partner, having children and travel. And then there are the influences along the way that add to the texture and colour of who we are, and what we value.
Even if you know most of the narrative of your loved one’s life, there are always things that you don’t know about or you may have forgotten.
Talking with your loved one about their life story, and recalling their fondest memories and life experiences can be lots of fun. Your family will enjoy discovering stories from their childhood, and hearing about their early adult life and the adventures and anecdotes along the way.
Sharing your life story encourages families to have conversations about life and what matters most. It is a wonderful way for us to reaffirm to our loved ones how much they have impacted our lives, and how much they have meant to us.
Your Life Wishes – Life’s a gamble – nothing can be guaranteed. Every one of us has to face the inevitability of death – but even before this, the circumstances surrounding your lifestyle may be severely impacted by an unplanned major accident or debilitating illness.
At various stages of adulthood, we will all have to plan ahead. It may be you are planning for the later stages of your life, or because of major life style changes such as starting a family or travelling overseas for an extended period of time.
A major accident or illness can change the course of your life in unplanned ways. Should you become mentally or physically incapacitated, you will have assisted both yourself and your family in making important decisions about your accommodation and health care, if you have previously discussed and recorded your wishes about such matters.
It is also important to document and make known that you have made a Will, various Powers of Attorney (eg Financial, Medical, Guardianship etc), Estate Plan, Health Directive/Advance Care Plan, Insurance Policy, Superannuation, Pre-paid Funeral Arrangements etc. Sitting down with your loved ones to talk about your end of life wishes can be a rich and satisfying experience for all involved.
By having and documenting the ‘Your Life Wishes’ talks, you can give your family peace of mind and make the difference of a lifetime. If life changing circumstances arise, you will have lessened the burden on your family when it comes to making difficult decisions regarding your wishes.