Here’s an extract from an article I’ve just had published in NextAvenue.org. It contains many helpful suggestions for how to start and maintain a conversation when someone you love is dying, as well as tips on how to prepare well for the end, when it comes.
You really are alive right up until the moment when you are not. Despite the fact that death can come suddenly, many people have a long, slow trajectory these days. Philip’s demise was in-between; it took 14 months from diagnosis until his actual death. In every one of the moments in the trajectory, that person is alive. Possibly with not much quality of life, but alive all the same.
Philip’s quality of life was fine, though, for a few weeks. You wouldn’t have known he was seriously ill until he began to find difficulty in swallowing.
During this time, I received an email from a close friend. She was asking a long list of questions of us both, but mainly for Philip. I knew he wouldn’t want to answer these; they were things like “Do you want to be buried or cremated?” “Does your partner know your user names and passwords?” and “Who would you like around you as you die?”
For me, the questions were about topics including: find out what the car needs, how any appliances work and what to do about a specific legal situation. Eventually, one Saturday morning, we tackled them.
You can read the full article here: https://www.nextavenue.org/partner-is-dying/