Death has been on my mind this week from the tragic events in Westminster to a personal bereavement. What strikes me is that all death is hard for the friends and family left behind but just how many conversations are had around that time guessing about the final wishes of the deceased and asking questions that could have been so easily answered if the loved one had still been there.
Lancaster Hammond have been working with an amazing charity called NCPC (National Council for Palliative Care) and their Dying Matters campaign is all about facilitating that conversation between family and friends. It enables difficult discussions about wills and funeral wishes but it also enables those lifetime wishes 'bucket list' to be shared. If you tell people that one of your wishes is to sing at the top of the Empire State Building then maybe , just maybe other people can help you to achieve it.
In this job, dealing with life and death issues such as serious infections, sepsis, cancer, and life limiting conditions such as the wide range of immunological disorders advances in medicine are keeping us alive a lot longer than ever before. My personal word for the end of this tragic week is that we should all value the precious time that we have and talk to each other about the things that are important to us. What are some of the amazing things that this strange world has to offer that we want to experience and how do we want to be remembered when we are gone.
Have those difficult conversations too. Imagine you have been given the task of writing the obituary of a close family member. What was important to them? Did they do everything they wanted to do? What was the piece of music that made them happy? What advice would they pass on to future generations? Well, how much easier your job would be if you knew because you had already asked the questions - you may be surprised by the answers.
The quote from Daniel Defoe.. "Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believed." is of course as true today as it has always been but talking about your wishes however near or far they may be can help you live your life and take the guesswork out of your death for your dear friends and family that are left behind.
Have a good weekend everyone and I'm off to start ticking off some things on my bucket list ... now where did I put that wetsuit ??
For more information on the work of the NCPC please visit www.ncpc.org.uk and for practical advice on having the big conversation please visit www.dyingmatters.org.