We sixty somethings are at a time in our lives when we experience loss and grief. Many of us have lost our parents, but I just experienced a loss that I’ve never experienced before – the loss of a sibling.
Last month was my sister Pam’s birthday, and she would have been 60 years old. I’ve missed her a lot lately because it’s hard to move on as if nothing has changed. In fact, it seems disrespectful.
Soon after my book was published, I attended a community luncheon. Several couples were seated at my table, and we introduced ourselves. After watching me for a few minutes, one wife suddenly exclaimed, “Oh, I saw your picture in Sunday’s newspaper. You wrote that guidebook for widows!”
When Sixty and Me posted my recent article Hearing Loss Happens, But, Good Listening Skills Are a Choice, many of you joined the discussion.
You told me how frustrated you were with never being listened to. Some of you commented that you were always expected to be the listener and to show an interest in others’ lives.
Many articles written for Sixty and Me are about the things we fear as we age.
I write often about grieving and the feelings one can experience when they are in the throes of it. One can never know what it’s like to be in the grip of pain after the loss of a spouse or a loved one unless they have experienced such a loss.
Death and dying are not popular dinner topics. In fact, there are few circumstances in which society considers it to be appropriate to talk about our mortality.
Over 30 years ago, I had the honor to work with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. At the time, concepts like palliative care and hospice care weren’t well known. In fact, through her book, “On Death and Dying,” it was Elisabeth who started to bring the conversation about death and dying into the open.
On the surface, saying that dying matters, seems so obvious that it’s not worth mentioning. After all, what could be more important than our mortality? We are here on this amazing planet for such a short period of time. Death is the ultimate destination that, in many ways, gives our lives meaning.
We all know that it is incredibly difficult to know what to say to someone who is dying. At the same time, as women over 60, we also know that there is no way to avoid these conversations. After all, when a friend, partner or family member is faced with a terminal diagnosis, they need our support. We just have to hope that our words do more good than harm.