I think the key in discussing this important topic is to help people understand, these discussions do not diminish hope. Careful, thoughtful conversations can be shared by role playing and discussing decision paths based on every possible outcome.
These conversations were truly a blessing to our family. The love and sharing that resulted from these (and there were many) conversations, enhanced our family relationships. My father and I had agreed that when I (as a nurse and daughter) felt it was time to seek hospice, that I would simply say…”it is time.” Those were the hardest words to speak, but prior conversations had prepared us all and lessened the pain of explaining the decision. The conversations had already taken place, detailing when hospice services would be sought and what those services offered. The conversations prepared us all to be in complete understanding of where we were in my father’s disease process and what hospice could offer in terms of comfort and palliation for us all.
Everyone is terminal! Our lives are time limited. Some are given the opportunity to have a better idea of when a disease will win, but eventually we all will die. Initiating end of life conversations with your family is a blessing for all. Trust and closeness are enhanced and the family is offered immense comfort in knowing that all decisions are based on the desires of the dying family member. Being able to say…”We did it DAD’s way, offers me great comfort. Because we had these important conversations, my Dad was able to maintain control of his life choices for his WHOLE life. I love you Daddy!