These were the words right out of my daughter’s mouth as I reminded her that I would not be around forever. This represented an opportunity for me. Yes, an opportunity to discuss how we might coordinate events and living situations, finances etc., for her brother, who has epilepsy, upon my death or when I become unable to care for him. The conversation ended abruptly.
Why do we resist having these difficult conversations? It is difficult, awkward and uncomfortable talking about the loss of someone, especially when they are alive and we don’t want to think about death, loss, emptiness, aloneness or any of the other negative attributes that go along with our situation. When we are very young, we aren’t even aware that these conversations will be necessary and quite honestly children shouldn’t need to worry about having conversations about the death or illness of a loved one. As we get older and experience the illness and loss of people close to us, we will be more in tune with the need and the desire to have these conversations and the benefits of discussing these difficult issues.
Knowing there’s a need and being an adult doesn’t make us want to have the conversation anymore, though. Most times we will avoid having the conversation about losing someone close to us. Really, who does welcome that conversation? Loss is grief and one of the first stages of grief is denial, which is why we avoid the conversation. That is one reason why it’s better if we can deal with the issues before there is a crisis. Make decisions when we are calm and
can focus on options. Reminding my daughter that I won’t be around forever is very emotional for her. Not only will I be gone, but she knows she will be left alone and will have the added responsibility of overseeing her brother’s affairs. I hurt too and feel bad for her even thinking about it. We still need to have the conversation, though. Have you ever thought about what might happen if we don’t have these conversations?
As we process through the difficult conversations, we are likely to discuss some of the things she is worried about and the answers will become clear. It is likely that the outcome will be that she will not be as worried if there is a plan in place. Yes, she might grieve the idea of losing me in the future, but the reality is we will all die at some point. I would rather have as much as possible planned for and put it in place to save any hardship for everyone after I am gone even if it does mean “We really need to talk about it.”
This is my story, but we all have very similar stories about what we avoid. It might be about a relationship that is on the rocks. Or it might be about the normal aging of a loved one and where will they live and who will take care of them.
Recently I worked with a mature woman who was not married and who lived with a family member who “took care of everything”. When this family member of hers died suddenly, she found herself in a tizzy and she could not cope. She could not take care of her home, her finances, and she was totally unaware of what her next steps would be. She was unable to drive. She began finding out that her family member did not have a valid Will and the home that they lived in together might not be hers as she believed it would be. “But she always took care of everything, she said.” Or so she thought.
Because I don’t want this to happen to anyone else, we will be hosting a monthly gathering to discuss difficult conversations. I would be honored if you would like to join us at, “I Don’t Want to Talk About It”.
Join us for a free support & discussion group, “I don’t want to talk about it!” Thursday, Feb 27, 5:30-7 PM RSVP at financialwellnesscenter.me