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Talking About Death with Your Family is Painful, but, Important

By Margaret Manning August 14, 2015 Mindset

We have all sat around the dinner table countless times, talking with our families about every topic under the sun – politics, people, shopping, work, movies, books, and our plans for next year’s holiday.

One thing that we don’t often talk about is death. When we do talk about it, we use words to hide the topic and euphemistically refer to “end of life planning.”

Why is Talking About Death So Difficult?

Talking about our own mortality naturally makes us uncomfortable. At the same time, there are important decisions to be made and it is much better to make them when we are in an objective state of mind.

Most older women are able to look at their mortality honestly. We know that unless there is an amazing longevity drink of medical breakthrough in the cards, we have less time ahead of us than behind.

Many of us have already made funeral plans and written wills. We have described whether we want to be cremated, buried, or as Joanna Lumley suggests, “put in a cardboard box covered with pictures and feathers.”

Beyond the basics though, there are so many things that we can decide not to ease the burden on our loved ones. For example, managing your “digital afterlife” is becoming increasingly important as our most treasured memories move online. For example, who do you want to have access to your email accounts after you die? What should happen to your Facebook page?

Groups like Death over Dinner and Death Café provide templates for having a discussion about death with your family. Their goal is to make the topic more approachable, even if it will never be enjoyable.

I’d love to get your thoughts on this. Please let us know your opinion by answering the following questions in the comments section and “like” and share this article to keep the conversation going.

Have you had a conversation with your family about how you would like to have your life celebrated? Did your family appreciate the gesture? Have you planned your funeral and written your will?

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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