End-of-life is a topic people tend to avoid discussing, or even thinking about, and understandably so. Confronting the reality of what will happen after you or a loved one passes is not always a comfortable or pleasant experience. It is a topic fraught with fear and uncertainty.
But, it doesn’t have to be.
Having The Talk of a Lifetime with your loved ones, while it may seem daunting at first, can actually help to demystify what is to happen after the loss, and give everyone a little peace of mind knowing when the time does come, they have been equipped with the knowledge to make good decisions that will honour their loved one.
However, this Talk is not just about your own or your loved one’s final wishes. Yes, it can help you to understand their wishes when it comes to end-of-life planning, but ultimately it’s about sharing one's life story, experiences, lessons, and so much more. It can even help to get to know each other in a new way, and to make invaluable memories during life.
Oftentimes, conversations like these will be sparked by a major life event like the loss of a loved one, or a health scare. But why wait? Why not have these important discussions beforehand, when everyone can participate and emotions are not already running high? Instead of waiting for the worst, you can take control of the conversation and have it during a time when everyone is comfortable, in any space you feel comfortable.
You can have it at a family gathering, or over dinner, or you can have a series of five-minute conversations that help to understand what you or your loved one wants. You can even get creative and make a game out of it! Just remember not to overcomplicate it, keep it on-track, and take notes. If you’re struggling to think of ways to broach the subject, or questions to ask, try talking about proudest achievements, most important pieces of advice, favourite memories, etc. Whether it’s a thought-provoking question or a lighthearted pondering, it’s all fair game.
Memorialization is an important part of the grieving process, but it’s also important to make sure a life feels valued while still living — everybody wants to know that their life touched someone in some way. That is the essence of the Talk of a Lifetime.
It’s scary to think about losing people we love, or coming to the end of our own lives, but don’t be afraid to connect with your loved ones in this way. If it brings you closer together, or gives you helpful information, you’ll be all the more grateful for it.
For more information on Having The Talk of a Lifetime, you can visit our website at https://www.legacyfuneralandcremationservices.ca/have-the-talk-of-a-lifetime, or at www.talkofalifetime.org