What is a Dockleaf Conversation?
Dockleaves are often found growing in the same place as stinging nettles. They can't stop the nettles from stinging but they can definitely help to lessen the pain.
Similarly, a Dockleaf Conversation can’t stop the certainty that is death, but it can help to manage the process and make it feel a little less frightening.
This website is dedicated to figuring out what the words in that conversation might be, where we can find them and at its heart, how we can say them aloud and share them with others.
But isn’t talking about death morbid?
It can be. It depends what the focus of the conversation is and the purpose underlying it.
All the definitions I've seen for 'morbid' suggests an abnormal/unhealthy interest or obsession with something. And sure, some people will talk about death with an intention that fits this criteria.
But a Dockleaf Conversation is designed to talk about death with positive intent. It's about sharing your thoughts, feelings and wishes with those around you who may, some day, have to carry them out. Talking about death with loved ones, before the need arises, is one way of showing them how much you care about them; you are guiding them to make the best decisions possible if and when that time comes.
Statistics show that 100% of us are going to die. If we have people we care about, it's important that we talk about all aspects of our lives. And lives end in death. So talking about death in this way comes from a place of warmth, respect and love.
Nothing morbid about that.
What is an End of Life Plan?
In a nutshell, an End of Life Plan is a set of documents that cover everything that someone would need to know about you if something happened that meant you either a) lost mental capacity to be able to make your own decisions or b) died.
The plan covers everything in terms of how you would like to be cared for at the end of your life, where you would like to die, what you would like to happen to your body and what you would want to happen to all your possessions and belongings.
There are three main components to a plan:
- Legal documents: Will, Powers of Attorney, Advanced Decision
- Practical Arrangements: Putting in place everything needed with regards to your finances, household accounts, social media accounts, belongings, pets, care wishes, funeral wishes, legacy wishes and so on. It's a long list!
- Writing everything down, keeping it all together, telling someone where it is and making sure it stays up to date.
This may sound like a lot of work and for some people, it can be. But there are things you can do to make it easier. It doesn't have to be done all in one go. There are resources and planners and courses to help. There are people to help (*waves*). And it can sometimes even be a little bit fun!
I’m young/fit/healthy – how is an End of Life Plan relevant to me?
If you knew the exact time, day and date of your death, would you do anything different in the days and months leading up to it?
If someone you care about was to suddenly die and you were responsible for their funeral, body disposal, accounts and belongings, would you wish you had spoken to them about their wishes first?
An End of Life Plan helps those we care about to make decisions at the very time they are least able to. We are all going to die. It's just that most of us don't know where, when or how. An End of Life Plan doesn't change that but it does change the experience for those around you. A good End of Life Plan will bring you peace of mind now and help to give your loved ones peace of mind later.
You don't need to be old or ill to have an End of Life Plan. You have car insurance, house insurance, health insurance and life insurance and hope you will never need to use any of them.
Think of an End of Life Plan as insurance. With the added knowledge that someday, it will be needed.
Okay, So how do I make an End of Life Plan?
I'm glad you asked! In all honesty, it's as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Essentially, you need to do three things:
- Make sure you have a copy of your legal documents (Will, Power of Attorney, Advanced Decision if applicable)
- Write down all your household, financial and digital accounts and details
- Keep all of this together in one place and make sure you tell someone (ideally a few someones) where it is.
That's it! Of course, this process may be simple but it doesn't make it easy. You may feel overwhelmed by how much there is to do and just not know where to start.
Or you may start well but lose momentum to keep going until the end. In which case, buying a workbook or a planner may help. Or enrolling on a course which will walk you through the process, step-by-step.
And if you're someone who would just prefer to have someone by your side every step of the way, then maybe working with an End of Life Planning Coach is right for you.
Luckily, I may know someone who can help with that 😛
How can an End of Life Planning Coach help and do I really need one?
The short answer is no, you don't need an End of Life Planning Coach as you can do it all yourself. Some people find they work best on their own, especially on something as important as this.
But not everyone feels that way and that's where working with an End of Life Planning Coach can really make a difference. Their job is to make the path clearer - helping you to navigate any obstacles in the way and supporting you every step of the way until your plan is complete.
This help may be in the form of practical support such as helping you to research funeral options or identify how to start decluttering your belongings, or emotional support such as thinking through who you would like to be your Power of Attorney or how to approach these important conversations with someone who really doesn't want to have them.
At the end of the day, an End of Life Planning Coach can't write your plan for you but they can certainly be sitting next to you helping you to figure out the words that need to be written down.