Talking about it won’t make it happen…

Debbie_Hartley_blogOk I admit it. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. In fact we all are in my house and have read the books and watched the films several times over, often with a large tub of popcorn balanced on our knees. I prefer the early, more innocent episodes whereas my husband enjoys the gritty, darker, later ones. Recently when we watched one of the films my children asked me ‘Mum, why won’t they say Voldemort’s name?’.  I had to explain to them that they were worried that if they said his name, something bad would happen, even though it was just a word being spoken. They thought this was strange as talking about something doesn’t mean it will happen. It’s the same thing with talking about dying – talking about it won’t make it happen.

This year, from 9-15th May, is the annual Dying Matters week. This is a nationwide event aimed at getting people to talk about various issues around dying so that yours and your loved ones wishes are known before anything happens. This year’s theme is ‘The Big Conversation’ and it is encouraging people to talk and plan around five key areas which are:

  • Recording your funeral wishes
  • Planning your future care and support
  • Writing your will
  • Registering as an organ donor, and
  • Telling your loved ones your wishes

If you’ve never thought of having one of these conversations with your loved ones, why not think about doing so during Dying Matters week. Many people often feel a sense of relief once they know that their wishes are known and plans are made.

If you’re not sure how to start a conversation, maybe try talking about something you might like to be remembered by, a song, a story or something physical like a memory box. This can then open the way to talking about some of the other areas.

There is also a #BigConversation each day on Twitter between 1-2pm  during Dying Matters week that you can join in with which deals with a different topic each day.

However you might like to have your ‘Big Conversation’, remember – talking about dying won’t make it happen.

Dr. Debbie Hartley
GP and Clinical Lead for Palliative and End of Life Care at NHS Bury CCG