rich emollient used in the management of eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.


That’s what Mom always said. She was a wise woman, right to the end. And her clarity and comprehension of her situation helped us to help her. My wonderful husband was pro-active in getting Mom to decide where she wanted to die, and the GP helped us achieve this. I believe that this was absolutely the right way for Mom to go, but it took our family to raise the question with the doctor and push for the help we needed.

So, I was interested in the recent article which says GPs should raise the question of end-of-life care for the elderly. It’s not just the elderly, however. These discussions should happen with people diagnosed with a terminal illness or even those conditions which can leave your loved one with no quality of life, like heart failure.

I had a frustrating and upsetting encounter with someone at the gym recently. A mutual friend was diagnosed last summer with advanced lung cancer. He is in hospital at the moment, and the reports we are getting are not encouraging. He has a close family member looking after him, and I don’t want to upset her, but it seems to me that nobody has had the courage to ask him what he wants. He may not know, he may not want to know what his options are, but being obstructive is unhelpful.

But, it’s still a taboo subject to ask someone how they want to die. It takes a lot of courage on both sides, and it’s a topic I passionately believe in. I know it’s a difficult conversation to initiate, and I wish I hadn’t had to do it for Mom. I hope it doesn’t happen to you, but if it does happen, be brave. It does make a difference, and getting things in order is very important for dying in peace.

Photo credit.



I am a scientist and a blogger. I have a PhD in the genetics of cardiovascular risk. My Mom died of cancer last year. We learnt a lot and met some amazing people. I want to share with others how to live positively with cancer, and make choices in end-of-life care. My top tip: Ask the difficult questions.

2 Responses to Get your ducks in a row

  1. Cara

    My grandmother was taken into hospital this week after having a couple of funny turns. She had a triple heart bypass 3 years ago and we have this week discovered she has a reduced heart rate. She is now waiting for a pacemaker to be fitter. As she is 85 (today was her birthday so we celebrated in hospital) all operations, even minor ones, are risky. Because of this we had the death talk so that all the family know what she wants should a decision need to be made.

    It is a difficult subject to bring up but we all felt much better after knowing what her wishes are.

    Great blog as always!

    • Thanks for your comment, Cara. So sorry to hear about your grandmother. Although you have had a family conference, I do hope that everything will go well with the pacemaker and that she will be up and about soon x.

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