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Learn the Steps of Building Strong Family Relationships

Houses Family comes in many different forms, but all families are enriched by love and respect. However, relationships are constantly evolving. If you want to work on building strong family relationships, it’s well worth the time to reconnect with your loved ones and reinforce that bond with good communication techniques. Here are a few tips and tricks to strengthen your family ties, while learning more about each other.

What Makes a Family Unique?

Not only does your family share a long history together, but your shared values provide a vital sense of community. Having the Talk of a Lifetime can help you learn more about these common experiences and can reveal a lot. Maybe you share a love of sports or a fondness for classic movies. Or maybe you belong to a common organization, like a religious group or philanthropic club. Take some time to discuss the similarities that your family shares and explore why these values are so important to each member. This can be a great opportunity for older members of the family to take on a leadership role, introducing the younger generation to the family’s core values.

What Habits Promote Good Relationships?

There are plenty of great habits that can strengthen the bond between family members. Here are few to keep in mind:
  • Show your appreciation for family members to remind them how much you care. This could be as small as a nice compliment or as large as a surprise birthday party.
  • Communicate your thoughts with care. Family members should go into every conversation with an open mind and an open heart, even when dealing with difficult topics.
  • Spending time together is a wonderful way to maintain a healthy relationship. Whether watching a movie or sharing a meal together, these activities can provide terrific memories for all involved.

How Can I Share my Family’s Legacy?

Every family is unique, so it’s important to remember your bond in a meaningful way. One way to do this is to have The Talk of a Lifetime with your family members. This activity allows each member of your family to speak about the treasured memories and lifetime milestones that represent their identity. What types of questions can you ask?
  • Who are your role models of the past and present?
  • What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
  • What is your proudest achievement in life?
Consider downloading the free Activity Guide to get your Talk of a Lifetime started at your next gathering! Take the time to have The Talk of a Lifetime, and you may be surprised by what you discover about yourself and others! For more inspiration, download our free workbook for additional guidance.

My Uncle Paul

Cross And Stone

Three weeks after we buried my Dad in 2011, my uncle had a massive heart attack. We were fortunate to be able to get him to the hospital in time to save him but not before there had been significant damage to his heart. That being said, he continued to live a very good life, exercising at rehab three times a week even after the initial period was over and he enjoyed all the times he spent with us at dinners, parties, weddings and weekly visits. 

Paul and I had the “Talk” many times. All he wanted was to be cremated with nothing! No viewing, no autopsy, nothing. I would chuckle and say, if you die in an accident, you will most likely have an autopsy and if you are cremated, someone has to see you to identify you! I continually reminded him that he was being selfish and that we were the ones that would need to be able to mourn him as a family! 

Many of his friends were dying, several of them choosing cremation too. Many had full visitations, Masses with casket or urn present and the majority had small family gatherings afterwards to continue to celebrate a life well lived. He would always tell me how nice it was, and I would remind him that this is what we were going to need as a family when his time came.

He finally conceded that we could have an invite only Memorial Mass that might be held at a small chapel close by, we could bury him in our family lot, and we could have a small gathering. We talked about urns, and I bought some catalogs over so he could find something he liked. He loved Davis Whitehall’s Urn, the Halia. It is a beautiful urn that has a pebble and ripples on top, simulating a pebble being thrown in water creating ripples symbolizing all the things that he had done during his life over the years. The urn was special to me because when I was younger, he and my Uncle Don taught me how to skip pebbles in Lake Erie!

The day I took him to the hospital for a procedure on his leg for a blockage last December, he walked me around the apartment showing me where all the important papers were…he must of had a premonition, but I thought he was just scared. I assured him all would be fine.

The procedure went great but the aftermath of the medication, complications and care, took him in a little over a week. He was awake, alert and one of my family was with him most of the time. None of us, including him, thought he was actually going to die. We shared some very good conversation and laughs with him, but he made us promise, no heroics. He was not afraid to die. His death was a shock for everyone but for me, I had the peace of mind because I knew what he wanted done. I was so glad we had the “Talk of a Lifetime”. 

The final decisions would be up to his siblings, my Mom and Uncle Joe, as they were the next of kin. As we discussed the options at the funeral home, all was done according to his wishes with two exceptions. We had a private family viewing and he was bought to Church in a casket for Mass of Christian Burial before his Cremation. It was a beautiful day and at the small gathering afterwards, we all celebrated Paul’s life enjoying each other and sharing so many memories. My cousins played guitar and sang his favorite song, “Blue Suede Shoes” along with a song they wrote specifically for him, “Up Yours Pal!” There is no way he could have been angry with how we celebrated and remembered him.

The following day we took him to the cemetery for burial and the urn was placed in the urn vault. Each of the family members received a pebble with his name on it to remember him. It is something I will cherish forever, just like the Chaplet made from my Dad’s roses by my friends at Commemorative Rosaries. Each of my family has one and for us, these are a small remembrance that although not physically here, they are always with us.

Sometimes it is hard to start the conversation, but it is so worth having…right Uncle Paul!

Celebrate Best Friends Day by Having the Talk of a Lifetime

Couple together

Best Friends Day only rolls around once a year, so celebrate in style with the ones you love! This year on June 8, take the time to reconnect with your best friends. Not only is the perfect day to chat about the past and present, but it can also be the ideal setting to discuss your future by having the Talk of a Lifetime.

Reaching Out

No matter how close you are to your best friends, it can be difficult to make time in a busy schedule. Luckily, modern technology presents us with more options than ever before. You could always call your friends on the phone for a life update, but video chat services add a visual component to the traditional phone call. Show off your new home renovations or your latest haircut, even if your best friend is miles and miles away.

Of course, you can reach out in more traditional ways as well. Send your best friend a greeting card or present in the mail on June 8 to commemorate your friendship on this fun holiday, or send a virtual e-card in mere minutes. These thoughtful reminders are great ways to show your appreciation, even when you can’t meet in person.

Celebrating Life

Once you’ve made plans for your coffee date or phone call, there’s no doubt that you two will have a lot to discuss. From career updates to family news, best friends can talk all day about their lives. But this June, why not go a little deeper? The Talk of a Lifetime is a way to reflect on your own life, while finding out more about your best friend as well. How do you have the Talk of a Lifetime?

Get comfortable! Set up a cozy spot in the living room, walk along a quiet trail, or find a relaxing place where you can talk freely.

Ask each other questions about life. What is your best friend’s proudest achievement? Who was their favorite mentor? What was the most valuable advice they ever received? These open-ended questions are great ways to encourage introspection.

For more inspiration, consider bringing along resources. Download a free workbook or consider Talk of a Lifetime conversation cards to keep the conversation flowing!

Creative and Functional Ways to Honor a Loved One

Quilt

After a loved one passes, it’s important to find ways to keep their spirit alive. But, not just any homage will do. If you want to learn creative and functional ways to honor a loved one, then read on for our recommendations. From thoughtful keepsakes to inventive projects, there are many thoughtful ways to honor your friends and family for generations. Having the Talk of a Lifetime now will help you creatively honor a loved one when they pass away.

Display Unique Mementos

Framed photographs are wonderful keepsakes of those you love, but there are many other mementos that can remind you of those passed. Handwritten letters and postcards are beautiful pieces to display. Try framing your favorite letters from friends or engrave your parent’s signature on a charm. You can also think creatively when displaying keepsakes. Did your Grandmother love to bake? Frame a piece of her apron as textile art. Was your Dad a master angler? Display a few lures under a framed portrait. These displays can really highlight the personality of your loved one in a unique way.

Repurpose Objects

If you inherit a collection of unwanted items, consider thinking outside the box to find a great use for them. Let’s say your Grandfather left you a box of pocket squares. Why not sew them into a tapestry for the living room or create a colorful quilt to brighten the bedroom? Not only can you reuse textiles, but ceramics as well. A few pieces of the family china can be reinvented into wall decor, delicate planters, or even cake stands. If the dinnerware is beyond repair, consider breaking the china into pieces to make artwork. The whole family can have fun creating mosaic pathway stones on a sunny weekend.

Utilize Technology

Technology has allowed brand new ways to commemorate your loved ones. Even after they have passed, you can integrate friends and family into your present memories. If you’re tech-savvy, try editing clips from family weddings throughout the generations. These multimedia projects can be wonderful presentations during family reunions and other special get-togethers. You can even use these tools as a jumping off point to Have the Talk of a Lifetime. These conversations can help you connect to your loved ones, while learning how they would like to be remembered in the future.

What Can the Older and Younger Generations Learn from Each Other?

Mother and Daughter Hands

Experts often speak of the generation gap, or the differing perspectives of older and younger groups, as a major obstacle to intergenerational relationships. However, research shows that it may be worth your while to build bridges with people of all ages to expand your world view. Just what can the older and younger generations learn from each other? Have the Talk of a Lifetime. You may be surprised by how insightful that first conversation can be!

Benefits

The benefits of intergenerational relationships are numerous. In fact, social psychologist Eric Erikson has stated that the advantages are plentiful for both older and younger generations. The younger generation can learn valuable life lessons from an older generation who has experienced a great deal of setbacks and triumphs. These conversations can relieve anxiety about the future, especially when the time comes to celebrate a loved one’s life after they die.

The older generation also benefits immensely from these interactions. These interactions can invigorate the older generation, which can reduce feelings of loneliness. Additionally, the older generation can share family stories with a brand new audience, and ensure that their life mattered.

Activities

Just how can the older and younger generations connect? There are plenty of ways to enjoy time together!

Consider spending time outdoors together with relaxing activities like gardening and walking to enjoy the fresh air and good company. Talk about your favorite things to do, and share memories around those activities.

Indoor activities can also be a blast. Try scrapbooking to discuss favorite memories with one another, and share stories about old pictures and keepsakes. Or take turns reading a favorite book out loud.

Each generation has a unique skill set to contribute to the world. Younger generations can teach the older generations about technology, while older generations can showcase skills like cooking and crafting. The key is to make the time to talk.

While dedicated activities can be terrific ice breakers, don’t underestimate the power of a good conversation. Talk about your favorite accomplishments in life or your favorite memories with your family. Visit the Have the Talk of a Lifetime website for additional tips!

Make a New Connection and Learn Something New

It’s clear that the older and younger generations can learn a lot from one another, so take the time to get to know someone a little better. Whether planting seeds with your niece or visiting seniors in your community, Have the Talk of a Lifetime, you could walk away with a better understanding of the world around you.

Exploring the Importance of Taking Photos

Picture Frames

From leather-bound photo albums to digital picture sharing, the modern photographer has tons of different options for displaying favorite snapshots. While great pictures are a work of art, these mementos mean so much more than simple decoration. Photographs allow us to record life’s greatest moments, so they stay in our memories forever. Explore the importance of taking photos, and learn how to take your skills to the next level! These photos may even help get the conversation started when you decide to Have the Talk of a Lifetime.

Remembering Key Moments

While memories may get hazy with time, photographs can capture moments in high definition. Take one look at your family’s holiday portrait, and you’ll feel transported to grandma’s house in an instant. You’ll remember all the small details, from the decorations on the mantle to the smell of cinnamon in the air. Even though special events may be hectic, it’s important to record these moments for the future. Try arranging your favorite snapshots in a photo album or scrapbook to share with those you love.

Developing Artistry

Whether simple or complex, all photographs are meaningful. But, it can be fun to challenge yourself to improve your artistic eye. Why not practice your skills at your next vacation? Pull out the camera and take some different shots of the waves on the beach, or try different angles when snapping pictures of dramatic architecture. In the age of digital photography, it’s easy to take dozens of experimental shots and view the results in an instant. You may be surprised by all you discover behind the lens of your camera!

Telling Stories

One picture can tell a thousand words, but what about a series of photographs? Keep your camera out throughout the day, week, or even year to capture events over a period of time. Nature lovers can take photographs of the changing leaves throughout the season, while adventurers can take pictures throughout an entire day of hiking. This photojournalistic approach can also be a wonderful way to commemorate your loved ones. Spend the day with friends and family while capturing moments that reflect their interests, like unique hobbies and special talents. This can also be a wonderful time to integrate the Talk of a Lifetime . You can learn even more about your loved ones in the present, while creating additional memories for the future. Contact us for more information on getting your Talk of a Lifetime started today.

Creating a Memorable Mother’s Day

Mother's Day Flowers

Mother’s Day is a special time to show your family how much you care, but preparing for this big day may feel a little overwhelming. Luckily, creating a memorable Mother’s Day is easy when you speak from the heart and Have the Talk of a Lifetime. Read on for our top suggestions on how to make this holiday the best one yet.

Personal Gifts

While lavish jewelry and huge bouquets may be impressive gifts, some of the best gifts don’t cost a thing. If you have little ones, encourage them to create cards and pictures for mom or grandma as one-of-a-kind art. Have them think about their favorite memories with these special women so they can incorporate them into their masterpieces. These charming mementos make great displays at the office or in the home, and the colorful designs will brighten any day, and may spark even more conversation about what matters most in their lives. Additionally, thoughtful gestures may make a big impact. Consider scheduling special time to share memories, and chipping in with extra chores to give Mom a day off.

Dining Out

Taking mom out for dinner is one of the most popular activities for Mother’s Day, so be sure to treat her to an amazing meal! Mother’s Day can be a great time to try an extra-nice establishment for dinner, but you don’t have to break the bank to have a memorable dinner. Think about your family’s favorite establishments. Whether mom prefers an upscale bistro or a neighborhood diner, she’ll be thrilled that you remembered her favorite restaurant on the big day, and these memories can last a lifetime.

New Experiences

If you want to plan something big, shared experiences may be more memorable than even the fanciest gifts. Talk to your mothers and grandmothers to learn more about things they love to do, places they love to go, or things they’ve always wanted to do. Head out on a road trip to somewhere brand new, or take a special vacation to a country you’ve never visited. Don’t forget to bring your camera, and record the experiences! The memories that you make with your family will be cherished long after the return flight is over.

Deep Conversations

Though some moms love to celebrate Mother’s Day with flair, others prefer quieter celebrations. The gift of great conversation may be just what your mom wants on her special day. Whether speaking through the phone or in person, take the time to learn something new about your mother. Have the Talk of a Lifetime. What are her favorite accomplishments in life? How does she want to be remembered in life? If you need more talking points, visit the Have the Talk of a Lifetime website for extra tips!

Why Memories Are So Important

Memories

From colorful childhood birthdays to proud career accomplishments, every person has their own vault of cherished memories. Your unique memories are a highlight reel of your life’s greatest moments, so it’s important to Have the Talk of a Lifetime, and share them with your loved ones. But over time, these recollections may get a little foggy. Why are memories so important, and how can we keep them alive?

Document Moments

Memories of your first baseball game may fade in time, but a picture is worth a thousand words. Search through old photo albums with family and talk about all the wonderful times in your lives. Dust off those old letters from your grandparents and re-read your favorite passages with your family. You may be surprised by all the emotions that a few pieces of paper can stir up! Additionally, it’s important to document moments for the future as well. Don’t forget to bring a camera to events, like children’s birthday parties and family reunions. These small acts can preserve memories for generations to come.

Share Stories

Not every memory can be documented. Sometimes a great conversation can reveal more than an entire photo album. Take some time in the present to recall the past with your family members. Call your parents and Have the Talk of a Lifetime, ask them about their favorite memories, or invite your grandparents to lunch for a casual interview. What are their favorite childhood memories? What things inspire them? Who are their role models of the past and present? For more ideas, visit the Have the Talk of a Lifetime website to learn more about how your loved ones want to be remembered.

Take Time to Reflect

Though modern times are hectic, it’s important to take some time to sit and reflect. Your calendar can be a great reminder to reach out to loved ones. Share favorite memories with your best friend during a birthday, or look through old photographs with your spouse on your anniversary. Not only can Having the Talk of a Lifetime help you reflect on important people in your day-to-day life, but it can also help you reflect on those who’ve passed. You can keep memories of the departed alive in a number of ways. Try listening to your grandparents’ wedding song in honor of their anniversary, or go through old birthday cards from your old friends. Sharing memories with your loved ones is one of the most important gifts you can give, for now and the for the future.

Why Does it Take a Tragic Event to Get People’s Attention?

Logo

We all take different “journeys” with many people in our lives. As a result, the way we respond can vary when we lose these people. We have contrasting feelings when we lose a 90-year loved one compared to a teenaged loved one. We can even experience strong emotions when dealing with the loss of a celebrity or of someone we don’t know, but who experienced a tragic death.

Most everyone can remember where they were and what they were doing when they learned of the 9-11 attack. I am sure the families who lost loved ones during this tragic event wished they had spent more time talking to them. Do you remember the death of Princess Diana? I didn’t know her personally, but I was touched by the stories that were told about her.

Why does it take a tragic event to get people’s attention? The reason I ask this question is because as funeral professionals, we deal with the loss of people’s most priceless possessions – their mothers and fathers who made them into the people they are today, and heaven forbid, someone’s child who forever changed lives once born.

When people experience a loss, they come to us, the funeral professionals, because they trust us. They trust that we will help them celebrate the lives of the people that made their world better. How can we truly celebrate their lives if we don’t allow them to tell their stories? Trying to learn these stories after the fact can leave us feeling a sense of stress, regret and remorse. We need to Have the Talk of a Lifetime, to ask our loved ones to share stories of experiences, people and major events that shaped them as people.

Having the Talk of a Lifetime today helps us continue the journey with our loved ones, through shared stories. Plus, we understand that healing is its own journey. Every conversation we have now, leads to a healthier healing journey later. Go, Have the Talk and allow the journey to be full of fantastic memories that live on even after we’re gone.

The Importance of Memorialization to the Living

Mural

Throughout history, nearly every culture across the globe has created rich traditions of memorializing those who have died. While these time-honored traditions serve as a method of preserving memories of the departed, the importance of memorialization to the living cannot be understated. What are some of the most common forms of memorialization, and how did these customs begin? We’ll explore the historical and sociological background behind memorialization today. Read on for a glimpse inside this fascinating process, and be sure to download a Have the Talk of a Lifetime Workbook for tips on getting your Talk of a Lifetime started.

Memorials in History

Every culture has their own unique customs to honor the lives of those passed. These traditions range from the intimate gatherings in small villages to grand displays in ancient cultures. Historically, everyday citizens received more humble memorials involving close friends and family. While traditional burials were common, cremation has also been a part of many services throughout time. More extravagant memorials, like monuments and temples, were reserved for the elite. However, some monuments were constructed in tribute to represent entire villages. These methods served to highlight the community, strengthening the bond between citizens. What kind of memorial will you want when you die? Be sure to Have the Talk of a Lifetime with your family to share your wishes.

Psychology of Memorials

Memorialization is a wonderful way to cherish the fond memories of those departed, while also allowing the living to grieve. In fact, social sciences believe that memorialization is a crucial part of the grieving process. In the case of unexpected deaths, such as motor accidents, scientists have noticed the phenomenon of “spontaneous memorialization.” Mourners will often leave flowers and letters at the site of the incident, even creating “road side memorials” as tribute to those passed. This process may help the living show their enduring affection and appreciation, while coping with such tragedy in the process. No time is too soon to talk about how you want to be memorialized. It’s important to Have the Talk with your loved ones today.

Honoring the Living

The memorialization process serves as a valuable reminder to cherish every moment with loved ones. One powerful way to strengthen your bond in the present is to Have the Talk of a Lifetime. Arrange some time in your schedule to speak with beloved friends and family about their proudest achievements, favorite memories, and more. You may learn new stories and valuable advice that may have otherwise been left unsaid. If you’d like to get started, visit the Have the Talk of a Lifetime website for more information about this powerful experience.