Forget Oxo ad tributes – follow Lynda’s example

Charles 3 Comments

Guest post by Wendy Coulton

Lynda Bellingham’s refreshing openness and honesty about living and dying with cancer has touched many lives but the enduring legacy will be if people take responsibility for their end of life matters.

There have been calls for the Oxo advert to be broadcast this Christmas by way of a tribute to Lynda. Surely a better tribute to this remarkable woman would be to follow her example – discuss and prepare for the inevitable.

Despite pretty much everything else being talked about on social media and reality television, death is still a taboo topic. Lynda was inspirational in the way she spoke, laughed and cried about dying and her decisions regarding the end of her life.

I regularly see families in distress and turmoil because there was no discussion with the person who has died about their wishes and no practical arrangements made regarding funding the funeral related costs. In some instances siblings have fallen out over conflicting views about what their parent would have wanted on fundamental issues like whether it is to be burial or cremation.

And if people feel uncomfortable discussing end of life matters with their nearest and dearest – they can always write it down and let their family know where their instructions or wishes can be found when the time comes.

The organ donation and transplant service has been encouraging registered donors to tell their next of kin whilst they are alive about their wishes because ultimately families can withhold consent and stop donation proceeding. 

Personally I think the last act of love I can give to my daughter is peace of mind knowing my wishes because we have talked about it, having a will in place and having finance allocated and easily accessible to pay for funeral costs.

Preparations are well underway for a two day event I am organising in Plymouth called ‘The Elephant in the Room’ in March 2015 with 12 talks and an advice hub all under one roof on a wide range of end of life matters.


  1. Charles

    In an ideal world… I haven’t told anyone what I want. Because I keep changing my mind. But you’ve persuaded me Wendy to at least decide whether I want to be buried or cremated!

  2. Charles

    Very true Charles!

    We recently wrote an article on Lynda’s very inspirational story:

    I myself had a brush with the Big C in 2010 and had my prostate whipped out & touch wood i am still all clear, but not a day goes by when I am grateful to be here!

    Until my illness my parents never talked about their own deaths, but now they have made arrangements and discussed with myself and brothers, it’s just a shame that shocking news had to be the catalyst.

    I hope that Lynda’s story helps others to talk about it and not leave the emotional or financial burden to their families.

    I would like to see the OXO TV ad at Christmas, as not only as a tribute to Lynda but also as a reminder to us all that life is short!

  3. Charles

    Lynda Bellingham Left some valuable information that every one should put to heart, even though she had cancer she knew that she had the responsibility to make sure that her family knew what she wanted before she sadly passed away 2 years ago.

    Having the correct plans in place before you pass and i if i may take a quote from this article ” siblings have fallen out over conflicting views about what their parent would have wanted ” can prevent family squabbles like that by stating what you want in a will.

    Also adding to the Preparation for the inevitable event in your life, you need to know how much its going to cost Financially and finding what financial plan suits you or your loved one best. Planning ahead is always a good thing even if it the big “taboo” death.

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