Be open and share your wishes with loved ones

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It will happen to us all eventually, so why do we find death so difficult to discuss?

Perhaps we just don’t like accepting our own mortality, the fact that one day our life will come to an end.

We’d rather not think about it. In a society where so many barriers have been broken down, death remains taboo.

But as we explain on pages 8 and 9 today, it’s vitally important that we do face up to the inevitable because it can prevent important questions from remaining unanswered.

Have you written a will? Do your relations know whether you want a modest or lavish funeral? What about burial or cremation? And would you like your organs to be donated?

Have you made clear your wishes should certain scenarios arise, for instance the care and support you would like should you fall ill?

Talking about death is not morbid, but instead a case of sensible planning that will ensure there are no doubts when the time comes.

This is Dying Matters Week and the national campaign aims to help people talk more openly about death and bereavement.

It encourages people to make plans for the end while making the most of life in the meantime and we would endorse that.

Just read the words of 69-year-old Dianne Collins, who had to start thinking about the future when she was diagnosed with heart failure five years ago and classed as terminal.

She could have sat at home worrying, but a heart specialist team helped her to plan for the future and enjoy living.

Of course we shouldn’t trivialise death. For those diagnosed with terminal illness, it is very real. But nor should we allow it to define us.

So please be open and honest, talk about your preferences and aspirations and share your wishes with your loved ones. Then encourage them to do the same with you.