Death is something each one of us will contend with at some point in our lives, be it our own or that of a loved one.
Understandably it's not a conversation that starts willingly but that's something Highlands local Melissa Reader wants to change.
Reader is the CEO of the Violet Initiative, an organisation that seeks to positively impact the final stage of life for both the person dying as well as caregivers, friends and family.
For Reader, it's a personal mission after she watched her husband of 10 years, Mauro, die after a short battle with cancer.
"I cared for my first husband, Mauro, back in 2010-11," she told the Southern Highland News.
"Back then we were a very normal, busy, happy family with three little kids. We ran our own little business, life was happy and chaotic at the same time. Then he got very sick, very unexpectedly with what's called renal cell carcinoma, which is kidney cancer.
"He was very ill for 15 months and it was just such an incredibly difficult time for us as a family for obvious reasons."
Completely unprepared for what was a traumatic period in her life, Reader said she and her family felt helpless as they watched on.
"One of the most difficult things was we just couldn't talk about what was happening," she explained.
"We couldn't have any real or honest conversations about what was going on for him and for his health and what that meant for our family. We just had no skills or way to open up that conversation. We were just fluctuating between hope and denial.
"When I look back on the last six months of his life he just endured so many surgeries and he spent so much time in hospital away from his kids and the people that mattered most to him. It was really tough for everybody but it would have been incredibly difficult for him.
"I think we would have made decisions differently if we had just really been able to understand and accept what was going on.
"He didn't even have a will let alone any of the broader conversations you would hope to have with your husband of 10 years and the father of your three children."
However, out of a painful situation has come a fierce determination to help others in her situation, leading the former Sydneysider to leave her consulting business and join Violet.
"I came out of that experience pretty traumatised but also holding a lot of regret and a lot of questions about why we weren't able to make sense of it and get any support as we went through it," she said.
"It's my life's work, undoubtedly. It's an organisation that absolutely deserves to exist on a national scale. There's 100,000 predictable deaths in Australia each year that can be planned for and anticipated and that's where we really want to help.
"We've built Violet to really support people as they care for someone in the last stage of life. When I talk about help it's really anchored in understanding, acceptance, preparation and communication. They're the core tenets of everything we're focused on helping with.
"Most of the focus is clinical care for the person who is dying and that's really important and should never change but there's a very big gap around non-clinical support, human and social support and the people who are going through this.
"By no means am I suggesting that this should be an easy experience because it never is but it should be better than it is today."
To learn more about Violet head to their website.
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