Discussing The Inevitable – Their Last Wishes

I broached the subject of death with my parents after losing my father-in-law. My mum died just a few weeks later.
Discussing The Inevitable - Life Wishes | Louise Williams Celebrant. Image created by AI in Canva
Posted By Louise Williams – Humanist UK Celebrant

Some of you may have watched the recent Stacey Dooley programme – “Inside the Undertakers.” – in which she talks about her relationship with death and what she is scared of.  I’m sure that she is not alone and that many find the subject of death completely terrifying and/or not a topic of conversation.  

Therefore, it’s not surprising that around 400,000 people a year die without telling their loved ones what their wishes are when they die- which can make a difficult situation even harder, especially if the death is unanticipated.  

With the anniversary of my mum’s death looming, the programme made me reflect on when I first broached the subject of death with my parents.  My father-in-law had just died, three weeks after a terminal cancer diagnosis and as hard as it was watching him die and the impact on the family, I was comforted by the palliative care given by the MacMillan Nurses, which ultimately led to his peaceful death at home, in accordance with his wishes.

Little did I know that three months later, my Mum would be diagnosed with terminal cancer.

This experience led me to have a conversation with my parents – then 67 and 64 – about our feelings and what they wanted when they died.  Little did I know that three months later, my Mum would be diagnosed with terminal cancer.  

Having had the difficult conversation – and seeing my father-in-law’s end-of-life plan in action – it gave me tremendous comfort in the remaining seven weeks of my Mum’s life and in the weeks that followed.  It also enabled further conversations about her wishes, which took some of the pressure from my Dad.  It also helped when my Dad took his own life just four years later.  

Looking back, I’m so glad that I had the conversation with them, and as we never know how much time we have left, I’d encourage you to consider your end-of-life wishes and have a conversation with those around you.  If you can’t face talking about it, just writing your wishes down is sufficient.

I’ve written another blog on this if you want to read more, “A Guide to Expressing Your End-Of-Life Wishes”.

Take care,


Louise Williams Humanist UK Celebrant of Funerals, Weddings and Naming Ceremonies in Yorkshire and Greater Manchester

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