While the holiday season can be an overwhelming joyous time for family and friends to gather and experience an abundance of togetherness, the season can also bring isolation, singular reflection and introspection — which can be good or bad.
Rather than play Uno with a group of people, some of us would prefer to deal the cards for a game of Solitaire, alone with our thoughts. Here’s a thought: Put away that deck of kings, queens and jokers and take a look at our deck that could inspire the Talk of a Lifetime.
After having thousands of enlightening conversations with people just like you, the team at Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium assembled a free, downloadable ebook called the Talk of a Lifetime, in an effort to encourage a pleasant conversation about your or your loved one’s life.
A companion piece to the e-book is a deck of cards that includes 50 additional questions that will help you learn more about your loved ones. As you work toward crafting a plan, whether for yourself or someone else, we invite you to come and meet with any of our certified pre-planning counselors. They can help you craft a plan for broaching the topic with your family and give you some direction on what has worked for some of the families we have worked with. At that meeting, you can request the Talk of a Lifetime card deck, a companion piece to the e-book, and leave feeling confident in how you’ll approach your loved ones this holiday season.
The cards are designed to be a painless, stress-free introduction to the funeral planning process. That’s not a festive topic, right? But with the cards, you’re really just sparking some memories and finding out some really wondrous things about those you care about the most.
Perhaps you already have a Christmas party or two on the calendar, or maybe there’s a day when all the family gathers to bake or cook. If not, maybe you can organize a little gathering. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Maybe even make this part of Game Night?
Randomly, here’s the first card taken from the center of the deck: Is there an event that drew your family closer together?
Think on that yourself for a moment.
The answer will be very different for you and I, and the responses you get from your loved ones is likely to vary. One thing I am confident in, though, is that it’s going to result in a meaningful talk for you all.
The goal of having the Talk of a Lifetime is to open the door to meaningful conversations and eventually discover the wishes you or a loved one have for saying goodbye. We have a lot of say in our celebration of life, and the options are endless, but often, we keep those wishes and thoughts to ourselves until it is too late. If you have ever been part of planning a funeral right after someone has died, you know the amount of stress and anxiety it can place onto a family.
Some might say that even discussing final arrangements in casual way over the holidays is grim, but what can be really grim is not making your wishes clear by doing any planning ahead of time. When the time does ultimately arrive, your family not only has to deal with the emotional loss, but they also have the added stress of trying to make difficult decisions about what you would have wanted.
Why not use the holidays to begin the Talk? Chances are, you are gathering with many family members in the coming weeks. There’s going to be music, great food, drink and conversation. Instead of the usual, “How’s work?”, consider adding some of these to the conversation:
- What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
- What was your favorite vacation and what is the most-vivid memory from it?
- What is your favorite thing to cook — or eat?
- If you could choose your last words, what would they be?
While some could argue that the holidays is not the right time of year to begin having the Talk of a Lifetime, I beg to differ. Beginning a series of conversations this way can really make everyone more comfortable down the line. Just think, once a loved one dies, there are about three days to consider, decide and plan a funeral.
Again, I would, or any of our certified, pre-planning counselors would be happy to meet with you to help you on this journey. Feel free to email me or call (603) 625-5777.