Actually, the conversation was initiated by my mother over a period of 40 years. All her 6 children were very aware of her wishes and she diligently prepared for the end, little by little, over time, in the 18 years she survived my father. She disposed of belongings, making sure family heirlooms were placed, organized her will and finances, downsized to a studio apartment in a senior independent living institution, wrote her obituary, including a photo, providing information about the $25.00 cardboard casket which would carry her body to the university which was receiving her donation. She died at 90, within 24 hours of a heart attack, just as she wished, and in her honor, all family members wore sneakers to the memorial service. She died as she had lived. My model.
My brother recently died at 67, somewhat unexpectedly although he had been ill. Not as prepared as my mother, his death put in stark relief the difference it makes to know what you want and go about doing it, with all the support of the family.
At 74, I wrote my obit yesterday, and since I have no children, am thinking about who, in addition to my remaining siblings who do not live nearby, will be a part of my support team and help me carry out the wishes I am in the process of getting clarified.