I have been looking at cancer blogs and forums and have noticed something quite disappointing. They are filled (quite rightly) with inspirational survivor stories and battle cries, but are lacking in discussions on death and dying. The two largest cancer support organisations have produced practical booklets but there are few opportunities to open up about how you are feeling following bereavement. In our case, the GP says ‘significant bereavement’.
When I first started talking and writing about Mom’s death from cancer I was amazed at how many people wanted to talk to me. Many had questions they had been too afraid to ask, too afraid of the answers. I had encouraging feedback too from a letter I published in the local newspaper, in praise of local end of life care services in our area.
I set about writing this blog, to document my own thoughts and to provide a forum for other families. The thing is, we still don’t like to talk about death. And we sure as heck don’t like to think about our own mortality. Cancer is a different disease for everyone but the one thing that all cancer patients have in common is having to confront their mortality. And that is devastating.
So let’s talk about dying, it helps us prepare and it can ease the pain of bereavement. Whilst there are incredible success stories in cancer treatment, many people still die from cancer. It would be wrong to avoid talking about death in order to not upset those brave and hopeful people going through treatment, but for many people there will come a time when the brave thing to do is to talk about dying.
My thoughts are with you all.
Read more from me at my blog Living with Mom’s cancer