Do you remember how nervous you were on your first day of junior high? Or, the sheer joy you felt on your wedding day? How about the pride you felt when your children were born, or you finally reeled in that big fish that almost got away?
It’s not easy to think about the prospect of our own death, but the significant memories that shaped your life could be a priceless legacy. A nationwide initiative called Have the Talk of a Lifetime is encouraging families across America to talk about the significant memories and personal milestones with loved ones, as well as thinking about how you’d like to be remembered at your funeral when you die.
The Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC) is behind the scheme and says deep down, most of us want to know we somehow made a difference in this world.
The membership organization, which is made up of people from the funeral end-of-life care professions, says that having the Talk of a Lifetime with family members across the generations, could even help us get to know them in a new and different way. The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) is among the professional organizations supporting the scheme and encouraging people to get involved and share memories, laughter and tears with family.
Sometimes, we can take for granted that we know the people we are most familiar with, but FAMIC says that digging out old family photo albums, listening to music and reminiscing could inspire memories that really tell the story of their life. The idea is for us to have the Talk of a Lifetime when we still have plenty of time ahead to share with the people we love best.
Here are 10 ideas for you to Have The Talk of a Lifetime with your loved ones:
1. Use a photograph to prompt a conversation
Ever really looked at that photo that sits beside your mom’s bedside? Some questions to ask could include: “Where was it taken?” and “What were you doing?”. Photographs can be a great memory-jogger, with the right prompts bringing back a flood of memories.
2. Play their favorite song
Whether it’s country classic Go Rest High on That Mountain or Halfway Down the Stairs, favorite songs can reveal so much about a person and evoke memories. What’s the tune that always gets your loved one on the dancefloor, or your own favorite music for romance?
3. Take a walk to your loved one’s favorite place
Taking a stroll to the church where someone got married, or another meaningful place, can be a great way to get a conversation started and share stories. You could ask how did they feel on that special day, or about what the place means to them.
4. Talk about their hobbies and interests
“Tell me about the first fish you caught, Grandpa?” Hobbies and pastimes are a great way to Have the Talk of a Lifetime about the things that made us happy and proud.
5. Ask them about their hopes and dreams
Have you ever thought about telling family about the dreams you are still chasing? Have the Talk of a Lifetime about your unfulfilled ambitions and goals. Your loved ones may even give you the support and motivation to succeed.
6. Talk about their greatest achievement
Whether it’s having beaten cancer, run a marathon, or even cooking a chocolate souffle that didn’t collapse, what are the experiences you grew from, or made you truly savor life?
7. Ask how they would like to be commemorated
Would you prefer to be buried or cremated? Would you consider being an organ donor? Does a traditional funeral or, life celebration appeal to you the most? Knowing exactly what someone would have wanted can alleviate so much heartache for families when they are planning a funeral for a loved one. A non-binding funeral wishes list, will or funeral plan are other ways to ensure your family is aware of the things that matter.
8. Share your favorite memories of each other Everyone loves a trip down memory lane – it’s a sentimental way of sharing heartfelt times. Whether these memories make you laugh or cry, it’s a way of reminding people how much they love and value each other.
9. How do you want to be remembered?
“A wonderful mom, peerless problem-solver and a hopeless cook!”
Talking about how you want to be remembered, also gives family the opportunity to share how much you mean to them – and may even surprise you!
10. Enjoy your favourite meal together
Mac and cheese, fried chicken or pot roast? Either way, nothing beats sitting together around the dinner table with a loved one or family. Have the Talk of a Lifetime and you may even begin a whole new family tradition and make precious new memories along the way.
Discover more Have the Talk of a Lifetime funeral planning and remembrance ideas on the FAMIC website where you can also download a workbook to record your conversations.