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How to Talk About Death with Your Loved Ones 

The difficulty in discussing death with your family and friends means that often, thoughts and final wishes are left unsaid and can’t be honoured properly when you pass away. But however awkward this conversation might be, it’s an essential talk to have to make your end of life wishes known and to be comfortable talking about the practical actions required for end-of-life care.  These suggestions can help make those conversations easier to have with those around you. 

Start the conversation

The first step in talking about death is actually overcoming the challenge of starting the conversation itself. It can be awkward to start talking about a difficult subject like death, but the reality is there’s no right or wrong way to do so, nor is there a perfect time. It’s up to you and those who are close to you to and when feels like the right situation, but it’s important to choose a time when everyone is calm and relaxed. 

You don’t want to be discussing sensitive topics when there’s a stressful or tense atmosphere. Think about how you’ll broach the subject – maybe you’ve had a recent experience that has prompted the conversation that you can use as an entry point to the talk. 

Inform your family of any policies

If you’ve taken a proactive approach to your death, such as setting up a funeral plan or paying into a life insurance policy, you need to let those around you about those plans while you can. You don’t want your partner or children to have to determine whether you had a funeral plan while they’re grieving your passing. So, informing them of these types of policies and plans while you’re alive will help make the process of handling the practicalities of your death much easier. 

Prepare what you want to discuss

white printer paper on white table

Photo by Jexo on Unsplash

Considering what you want to say in advance can help the conversation move more smoothly and will help you ensure you have talked about the topics that are most important to you. It can help to make some notes beforehand or even to use a template, such as a digital funeral planner, that will help you tick off the main points you want to make. 

You may want to talk about the practical elements of your end of life care, such as where you’ll want to be treated if you become ill, such as a hospice or at home, or who you will appoint as your lasting power of attorney. Or maybe you want to talk about the emotional side of things, such as what you’d like your funeral to look like and any concerns you have. 

Listen to your family’s wishes

side view of man's face

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

Your end-of-life care should be centred around what you’d like for yourself, but it’s also important to listen to what your family would want for you too. Remember that they want what’s best for you, so it can be a good opportunity to discuss different issues around your death and to weigh up what’s best. For example, you may differ on opinions of where you’d like to receive care in your final years if you should need it, or if there are any therapies you do or don’t want if you become ill. 

It’s worth remembering that the discussion doesn’t always have to be about death and dying, but rather how you would like to live up until you die. In having these talks early on, everyone is on the same page about what will take place depending on different scenarios which can ease the burden of wondering whether you’re making the right choices. 

Final thoughts

Talking about our own mortality can feel like an uncomfortable thing to do, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s important to break the taboo of talking about death, as well as essential that important decisions are made when you’re able to tackle them with an objective perspective. Involving those around you in these conversations can help reduce the burden on you to handle all the decisions but it also means that your loved ones are aware of your end-of-life wishes so they can honour your life as you would want them to. 

How to Talk About Death with Your Loved Ones 

About Author

I am Sam and owner of StressedMum, I hope you enjoyed reading my latest post, I always love to read comments from my readers


  • Margaret Gallagher
    30th June 2021 at 4:42 am

    Such a difficult subject to approach- thanks for your practical .advice

    • admin
      30th June 2021 at 9:54 am

      It is a difficult subject, but one we need tobe aware of

    30th June 2021 at 9:15 am

    I lost my father 20 years ago,and it’s helped me to help friends and relatives to cope more,when they lose someone close

    • admin
      30th June 2021 at 9:53 am

      Losing someone close affects us in different ways, experiencing a loss you can be there for others as you have an understanding

  • Jo Butler
    1st July 2021 at 7:36 pm

    Some wonderful advice and tips on a difficult but very important subject.

  • joanne coulson
    2nd July 2021 at 7:52 am

    It is so important to talk about this, I very recently lost my mum suddenly, fortunately we had conversations and plans set in place that meant dealing with her funeral and affairs was very simple to handle. Without the prior conversations it would have been a lot more stress added to an already diffult time

    • admin
      2nd July 2021 at 9:58 am

      I am so sorry for your loss, I do agree as much as we do not like these conversations they are important that we have them

  • Carly Belsey
    4th July 2021 at 5:27 am

    Oh it is difficult isn’t it, I find it hard. My partner’s best friend has lost his younger sister, his nan and his mum all within 18 months. He now lives alone in the house which was once buzzing, I want to cry everytime I think of him but I had to bite the bullet and contact him and once that was done the first time it was a lot easier.

    • admin
      5th July 2021 at 4:31 am

      It is a difficult subject to bring up and it is even harder for those going through it, that must be so hard to see your friend grieving


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