Having “The Conversation”
I don’t usually talk about “end-of-life” type of things on my blog, because what drives me is enabling people to tell their life stories on video to pass on to future generations. The process is about reminiscing and celebrating all that has happened in a person’s life and leaving a legacy. It is most definitely not about dying.
And yet, it’s still out there. This fact that one day there will be no more days. And how do we want to live our last days?
I was intrigued recently reading about “The Conversation Project.” It’s a movement to have those conversations with our loved ones about how they want to be cared for when it comes time for the end-of-life.
It’s not an easy conversation to bring up. (I know this first hand, as I had meant to start it last week while on vacation with my husband’s family.) But I do know that it’s an important one to have.
At the Conversation Project’s website, they have a thoughtful starter kit that includes pages to fill out where you and your loved ones can share what’s most important at end-of-life and how you want to be cared for when that time comes. It includes a “What matters to me” most sentence as a way to start. It delves into how much you might want to know as a patient, how long you want to receive medical care, and how involved you want your loved ones to be.
This is not necessarily about Wills and Advance Directives, though it can be the beginning of that process. It's about some of the smaller and sometimes intangible wishes that we don't ever seem to discuss. Things that might seem small in the short term but can be big and overwhelming when you're facing them.
"The Conversation" can be started by a parent or a child. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that it happens. On the website, there are some great ideas for icebreakers on how to start this conversation, as well as other people sharing their stories of how they handled it.
As the Conversation Project shares, “It’s not easy to talk about dying, but it’s vitally important.” I’m curious if other people have started this conversation with their parents or grandparents. What worked for you? What was successful? Please share a note in the comments below and let's get the conversation started here.