Death

Book Inspiration #3: “What’s still missing is the emotional piece.”

Photo credit: Les Anderson on Unsplash

Photo credit: Les Anderson on Unsplash

Brad is one of the youngest people who participated in the interview project about aging, death and dying, and he readily agreed to story his interview with me for this book. When we began to talk about dying, he spoke frankly and thoughtfully:

My parents feel that things should be in place when they’re older, for example, long term disability insurance and sufficient retirement savings. I think that’s how their parents saw it as well — that it is the parents’ responsibility to look after themselves financially as much as possible and not the children’s issue. But what’s still missing is the emotional piece, sitting down and having that emotional discussion, not the practical talk about coverage and financial issues.

Since I’ve started launching and promoting The Invitation, this is one of the themes that often comes up. Young adults and adult children are telling me how the emotional piece is missing in these conversations. Their parent(s) don’t talk about the emotional aspects of aging, death and dying and they don’t know how to bring it up in conversation. Adult children want to, they are ready to, and they don’t know how.

So, here I humbly offer a few suggestions, and I also believe that even before you read them, you may have some ideas of your own.

  • One suggestion is to understand your own ambivalence, resistance and/or avoidance about discussing aging, dying and death with your children, spouse, parents, friends, and relatives.
  • Another idea is to read the stories in the book and notice what moves you, resonates for you, frustrates, aggravates, confuses, or makes you uncomfortable.
  • You might want to consider reflecting and writing down your own responses to the interview questions (they are included in the final chapter).

Let’s keep working on exploring and talking about these taboo topics, and having these conversations together. Let's work together to lessen this uncomfortable silence.

 

So, how does it feel, to be published?

I've been asked, "So, how does it feel, to be published?" I’m pretty sure that anyone who publishes their first book feels similarly. This is what I’m experiencing at this moment.

Astonishment. I’m incredulous. I can’t friggin’ believe that it’s done!

Relief. I spent a lot of work, energy, time, and resources on this. No regrets, I know I’m changed by it. And I am happy to let it go. My shoulders and mind need freeing of everything required to complete this.

Vulnerability. After all I’m digging into taboo topics. Aging. Death. Dying. Seriously taboo, so what consequences will there be: Death threats? Bullying? Social media hijacks? And what have I done by revealing myself so openly and honestly? Yikes.

Anxiety. The silence freaks me out. The silence is what got me started on this project. It’s one of Gottman’s Four Horsemen and you know what he says about it, it’s not so good for healthy relationships. I want people to react - say anything! What you like about the book, what you don’t like so much, what freaks you out, what stops you from reading it to the end, what keeps you going? Just say something, anything!

Gratitude and Love. What everyone says is true: we need others to help us make dreams and goals come true. And I’m grateful for the many generous and kind people I know and the ones I met because of this project.