I am not sure how  your relationship with your parents may be and whether you are in a position to discuss or converse about anything and everything with them. If you can, you are one of the very lucky ones.

For many Asian families like mine, there are certain conversation topics that are off limits – such as the topic of death! This is a topic that is not likely to be discussed openly, especially with my elderly parents.

I am not sure whether this is the case for you and your family? And I am not sure whether people are more open now, however, to discuss about what to do should one of them pass away… is one thing my parents are not particularly comfortable with.

My mum will look at us with disgust and say: “tai-kah-leh-si … We are still alive and well, why bring up this topic?”

I suppose being in Australia for many years, I do see things a bit differently from my parents. I feel that as we grow older, this is a subject that is inevitable as it is important to be open and be prepared. By doing so, it will make things easier for the children and relatives when the time arrives.

As always, our conversation with my parents about planning did not get us anywhere, and eventually we left it, with the hope that my parents have talked to someone they are comfortable with.

I now realised how difficult it was with our recent episode of near-death experience for my dad, and my mum was in a total mess and could not make any decisions. My brother was not much help as my parents’ faith and beliefs are different from his.

Luckily, my aging and very sick dad is starting to show signs of improvement and my mum has settled her fears and anxiousness.  Let’s just hope they will make use of this opportunity to discuss and plan for the next stage.

For example, should there be another emergency, what needs to be done. Such as:

  • What to do in an emergency in the hospital, what to do and not to do.
  • Should the inevitable happen, what next? Where and what needs to be done?

These are very awkward conversations with your parents, especially if you do not have the usual “conversational relationship” with your parents. However, I hope you can appreciate that this is something that is inevitable, and something no one will be spared.

Once all the hard conversations and planning have been done, maybe you and your family will be able to enjoy life with more certainty rather than constantly be in the guessing space.

So let’s see whether my mother will be more prepared to face the inevitable or still hold on to her “tai-ke-li-see” mentality.

Have a wonderful time connecting and building the bond and relationships with your loved ones.

If you face a similar experience, I would love to hear your thoughts.