10/25/2012 07:49 EDT | Updated 12/25/2012 05:12 EST

How to Start Talking About Death

deserted paved stone path...

No one wants to talk about death or dying. No one wants to think of the inevitable. Death why not get prepared.

I have not always been so blunt about death or talking about death. To be honest, before my husband died, I never said the word. I was superstitious and felt that by uttering the word I was inviting trouble. I did not have a will, afraid that I would jinx myself. That all changed the day my world collapsed and my healthy 44-year-old husband died suddenly. I had to face the "D-word" head on. There was no turning around and avoiding it.

My husband was organized and luckily had taken the time to write a will. One of the first things I had to do after he died was find the will. I was not even sure where he kept it.

The first thing the banks, insurance etc. asked me after his death was "Did he have a will?" I learned that you pretty much have to show a copy of the will for all transactions and activities after a death.

My husband and I never discussed death. We were young and healthy. Why would we discuss that! I did not know if he wanted to be buried or cremated. I did not know where he wanted to be buried. I did not know his final wishes. When he wrote his will, we never really discussed anything other than who gets the possessions.

I learned from my experience and I am now an advocate for starting the conversation. I am sharing my story so that other people will be organized and have that dreaded conversation about death with their spouse or family.

I am not a expert with wills/estates but I can share my personal experience and suggestions:

1. Plan some quiet time when you and your spouse can have an uninterrupted discussion.

2. Before you have your chat, think about your final wishes. Do you want a memorial? Do you want to be cremated or buried? Do you want to pre-plan the details? How do you want your assets divided? Do you have guardians for your children? What are your wishes regarding resuscitation? Are your assets in both your names? Do you know where the wills are located? There are just a few topics to discuss.

3. Sit down and talk. Be honest and open. Take notes. Be open-minded.

It will be an emotional talk but I guarantee it is worth it. You will be prepared for the inevitable and will have the peace of mind knowing that you started the dreaded conversation.

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