The Elephant in the Room

Updated: May 21

This is my elephant that I painted whilst on a trip to India 2 years ago. I LOVE elephants! To me they are the most majestic of creatures and feature in many stories/representations in societies throughout the ages.

One of the most common elephant expressions used is “the elephant in the room.” This big elephant in the room that no-one likes to talk about is Death and Dying. It is always there waiting patiently for us to recognise and acknowledge it’s presence.

This was certainly true for me and my family when my beloved mum got suddenly diagnosed with Lung cancer at the young age of 58 back in 1985. It was like a bolt out of the blue and one that blew all of our lives apart in one fatal swoop.

And still we never talked about it…. We tiptoed around the elephant, the feelings too awkward and the pain seeming too unbearable. It wasn’t just us that didn’t talk about it, NO-ONE I knew or met in that time talked about Death and certainly not daring to mention Cancer which was “the big C”.

I personally suffered in silence for years with this as a young 20 year old as I know did the rest of my family. It was truly heart breaking looking back on this.

Thankfully today, it doesn’t have to be like this after a bereavement, there are now so many organisations and support structures out there and thanks to modern technology, support and information is at hand in a click!

But the topic of Death and Dying is still largely a taboo subject and one of the main reasons why End of Life Planning still goes unaddressed and avoided.

I suspect that the elephant is still a main feature in people’s homes and I encourage you to talk to it. It’s may be more friendly than you may think!

And if you need a mediator to talk to it, come talk to me, I would love to support you in this.

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