Tender Spiritual Hygiene: Talking About Death
Between getting older and feeling more vulnerable, my mother getting older and relying on me more, and the pandemic lingering... My wife and I have been talking about taking charge of our end of life plans. Because does anyone really know when or how?
I encourage these tender conversations with your beloveds. It can be a sweet spot of intimacy and ultimacy.
I started asking questions of my mother in a panic one day when I realized I knew nothing of what she wanted. We now have a plan. I even know what picture my mother wants on the order of service at her memorial. I thought the conversations would be awkward or sad. It was a bit awkward at first, but I leaned in. I feel closer to my mother more than I ever have. And there is now a lightness. A big sigh of relief. We have a plan. Let's get on with living.
Here are some guiding documents to help you get started.
If the idea of mortality and death makes you uneasy, but you'd like to explore and learn more about yourself in the process, I recommend Date with Death Club, which was designed by Unitarian Universalist minister Rev. Karen Johnston.
Would you like a more intimate exploration? Mortality and end of life planning is a wonderful topic for spiritual direction! I've had clients bring their Five Wishes worksheet to a session to talk about.
What sacred work! It may be counterintuitive, but I've not found it depressing. Rather life affirming and energizing. Freeing. That is my wish for you.