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I'm Uncomfortable When Mom Talks About Dying

Who among you have not been guilty of doing that? We are not comfortable with discussing mortality, especially that of our parents.   After all, we are a society of people who pride ourselves on living life to the fullest, seizing the day, and winning no matter what.

The reality is that it is not unusual for the elderly to bring up their mortality.  I have many times heard an octogenarian tell me that they are ready anytime or that they have lived long enough.  Others never bring it up, but back to those that do.

If your mom, for example, brings up her death, it is possible she may want to talk about it with you.  She may want to explore her beliefs about an after life.  Maybe she wants to talk about her life or assess how you will handle her death.  She might want to discuss who should have her prized knickknacks. Mom may just be recognizing her mortality - as some people learn about themselves through talking to others - and is mentioning it to see how you will react.

So, if your mother says, “I am ready to go at any time,” you might want to say, "Tell me about that mom."  Then be silent.  Do not walk away, cross your arms, or try to talk her out if it thinking that she gave up.  For someone in their late 80's or 90's, it is not unusual to discuss the end of life on this earth.  It may just mean that she is preparing for whatever life brings.

Try to wrap your head around the reality that parents will likely precede you in death, and give them the gift of your time.  You may be the closest person to discuss their mortality with.  Why deny that wonderful discussion?    We are such a death-denying society that we do not usually allow each other to share our deepest thoughts, but it might be time to be there for your parent.   Give the greatest gift of all, your ear. 

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