One of our dear cats is very sick. This prompted a family discussion about how much care to provide him, and led to a talk about our own wishes should we become ill.
I recently read a post on WiseHands, a massage therapy and hospice blog, about how working with people who are dying can change the way we feel about death. Part of my job as a nursing home psychologist is to help people prepare for death, and it took time for me to grow comfortable with this. I find my patients usually welcome the opportunity to discuss treatment decisions and dying, but sometimes it takes several attempts before they are fully ready to talk about it. I imagine it would be the same for family members trying to have similar conversations.