Talking about dying

Most people are not used to talking openly about death and dying, and it’s common to avoid this conversation.

Why it helps to talk

There may be days when you feel like talking about approaching the end of life, and days when you don’t. It may even change from minute to minute. In general, it can help to discuss your fears and concerns about death with trusted family and friends.

When you share how you think and feel with people you trust, it can often help support all of you through the sadness, anxiety and uncertainty.

Some people dying with cancer have said that the process can feel isolating and lonely, even with a stream of visitors. This is particularly true if family and friends avoid talking about what is happening. If you are comfortable with people acknowledging that you are dying from cancer, let them know.

When you don’t want to talk

You may find that you don’t want to talk about dying, or that you want to discuss it with some people but not others. You may be the type of person who would prefer to focus on making the most of the time you have left, rather than talking about death.

In some cultures, people think it’s disrespectful to talk about dying. Or they may feel that talking about death makes it happen sooner.

Everyone handles dying in their own way. If you don’t want to talk about facing the end of life, your wishes should be respected.

This information was last reviewed in January 2017
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