What to talk about

Despite what you’re going through, you’re still living your life and you’ll probably want to talk about everyday things a lot of the time – what music you’re into, what to have for dinner, news about friends. Talking about ‘normal’ things can help. However, you may also have many thoughts and questions related to dying. Here are some topics that you might like to talk to someone about.

Faith, spirituality and other beliefs

It is natural to think about what happens when you die. Some people have a very strong faith, while others have different beliefs, or may be unsure what they believe. It is common to think about and question your beliefs at this time. Sharing your thoughts and feelings about faith and spirituality with a friend or relative can comfort you and bring you closer together.

You may find that you’re so angry about what’s happening to you that you’ve lost your faith. If this is something you feel unable to talk about with someone close, you may find it helpful to talk to a religious leader. You could also talk through any religious or non-religious thoughts with a psychologist or counsellor, or with your CLIC Sargent care professional or another member of your hospital care team.

Looking back over your life

It can be easy to forget how much you have achieved and what a difference you have made to others in your life. It can be helpful to think about – and celebrate – this. 

What about the memories you share with loved ones, friends and family? They are as important to those who share your life as they are to you. Recording some of your memorable and special moments can help you realise how significant your life has been. It can also offer a connection with you later – when your loved ones want to remember you.

Making amends or completing ‘unfinished business’

It’s only natural to have some regrets about things you may have said or done in the past. Settling old arguments and helping to heal old wounds can be a very positive experience both for you and the other person. If this feels important, you may want to get in touch and say you’d like to sort things out. you may or may not want to tell them about your illness.

It may be that the other person, for whatever reason, is not interested in sorting things out. if this is the case, try to remember that you tried your best and move on.

You could also leave cards for people if you would like to give them a message after you have died. It could be for a special birthday or anniversary, or a date personal to you both.

Practical matters

Sometimes sorting out practical and financial matters can leave you more able to concentrate on other things.

You may have clear areas of responsibility that you need to discuss, for example financial matters, deciding who will look after your children, or what will happen to your pets. If you have children, it’s a good idea to think about who will care for them as early as possibly, as you may need to draw up a legal document about this. You may want to talk about making a Will or something less formal, like a letter outlining who you want to get your belongings when you die. Writing a Will can feel like a daunting task so you might want to discuss your options with someone beforehand. You CLIC Sargent care professional can answer any questions you have, put you in touch with our welfare rights team or contact a solicitor on your behalf.

Some people choose to leave money and possessions to family, friends, or to a charitable cause that’s important to them. You may want to discuss with close friends or family whether there’s something personal that you’d like to leave to them or that they would like to remember you by.

I’ve talked to my mum about who I want to get all my DVDs and the money in my savings account. Making plans has taken my mind off things a bit.

Things you’d like to do

You may feel that there are some things you’d like to do in the time you have left, such as visiting a place you’ve always wanted to go or trying something you’ve never done before. You family or friends might be able to help arrange these things, or if you’re well enough, there are organisations that arrange special days for seriously ill young adults. Or you might simply want to watch a film you really enjoy with those close to you or share a favourite meal.

The things you won’t get to do

It’s natural to feel angry and resentful about the things you won’t get to do in your lifetime. These are huge emotions, and while sharing them won’t stop you feeling sad, it can help you feel less isolated.

Young people sometimes talk about feeling more willing to take greater risks or try new things for the first time.

Talk with your CLIC Sargent care professional or someone you trust if you feel like this, as it’s important to stay safe.  

Reviewed September 2015. Next planned review 2017.