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We don't talk about those things...

If you are reading this, perhaps, these words have come out of your mouth once or twice and perhaps there is a part of you looking for tips on how to have a more fulfilling connected conversation with yourself and with your family, friends and people you love.


As a geriatric and palliative care nurse practitioner a large part of my role is to facilitate and be present to people's thoughts, emotions and beliefs while they are trying to make difficult decisions about their future medical care in case of critical event and serious illness. After 10 years of experience with these conversations, I can tell you I have heard and witnessed people's deepest regrets, pains, fears, limiting beliefs, communication style and relationships.


So if you and your family fall into the "we don't talk about those things" category, I am curious what you talk about and more importantly I am curious about how you talk about them. I can appreciate that talking about the end-of-life and death, dying feels miserable, depressing and foreign.


Truthfully if I learned anything over the past few years, it is that people think they are avoiding talking about dying, but really they struggle to talk about living. When was the last time you shared your ambitious, shoot for the moon dreams and said to the people you love, if I'm not living this life then kick my ass or let me be. You see as a recovering non-decision maker, avoid emotions at all cost person, I can relate to people not wanting to have difficult conversations. However as a medical professional who knows the outcome of not making decisions I have to tell you every time I hear a son, daughter, friend, sister, church member say "we don't talk about those things" I feel like I'm being punched in the gut while my response says "oh, I understand; these things are really hard to talk about". In the spirit of thanksgiving that brings people together to hang out with their "stuff" I challenge you to have the difficult conversation. When uncle Alan talks about his blood pressure and how his doctor won't be happy with how much salt he ate or your sister Suzie complains about her back pain or you are sharing the unexpected news that you have cancer, don't be afraid to acknowledge how you want to live and create an experience that feels new, connected and foreign. This time if it feels foreign I hope it is for a good reason. When you have had that lighter more fun conversation please contact me and tell me how it goes and how I can support you to take the next step.

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