Episode 70: End of Life Conversations Bring Unexpected Intimacy

Who among us relishes talking about death? Specifically our deaths or those of the near and dear to us. Which is weird because if you’re alive, you’re in for a penny in for a pound kind of thing, with death.

End of life conversations, though hard to start, can bring you closer to the person whose life you are helping to plan.

My guest, Jane Duncan Rogers, was thrown into a situation where she had to have the conversation, ask questions like, buried or cremated, what kind of urn or coffin, party or quiet ceremony only — when her husband was diagnosed with a terminal cancer and their time was short.

She put off asking “the questions” and had hoped to rush through them, just get it done. What happened instead was a 90-minute conversation with him. It was full of laughter and a sense of being in a project together.

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Before her husband transitioned, Jane was a counselor and coach. When she wrote her first book, “Gifted By Grief”, about her experience with her husband’s illness, their time together, and caregiving, she figured it might get her a few new clients and not much else.

She was surprised to find that many people responded to a chapter in the book that reviews the questions. She kept getting nudges in the direction of helping others deal with end of life planning, grief, etc. The result is her business, Before I Go Solutions.

Jane sums up her why.

“I’m on a mission to help people be able to talk about it in more easily. Well before the time, well before it’s really needed.”

Well before it’s needed is key.

Imagine you find yourself with a spouse or loved one in critical condition, decisions about their care need to be made, and you don’t know how much or little they want?

Or imagine you are caregiving an aging parent from a distance and they die. They may have a will. You may know what they want for a memorial. Can you get into their computer? Phone? Safe deposit box? Etc, etc.

What I learned from speaking with Jane was that there is more information to gather than just the health and financial proxies.

Got secrets?

“There’s another unexpected thing that people never think about, if you’ve got secrets in your life, whatever they may be, if you think that they might come out after you’ve died, please take care of them beforehand.”

Burn those diaries girls.

One aspect of end of life planning that stood out for me is, how do I/your person, want to be celebrated? Why shouldn’t that also be planned?

And if you are planning as a healthy 50 or 60-something and years from now you realize today’s plan no longer feels like a fit, change it up.

What if you’re single with no family to plan this with? We covered that too.

Learn more about Jane’s books, programs, and becoming a Before I Go facilitator, at her website.

Here’s a link to the quiz I mentioned. It’s about 8 questions and just answering them will give you a good idea what’s missing in your end of life plan.

If you want help getting organized or just getting started in the right direction, check out the facilitators. All work virtually.



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