Have the Talk of a Lifetime™ is designed to help families talk about what matters most in their lives and how loved ones have made a difference. These discussions can help families make important decisions about how they wish to remember and honor the lives of their loved ones with memorialization services in the future.
Deep down, most of us want to know that we, in some way, made a difference in this world. Having the Talk of a Lifetime can make the difference of a lifetime. It can help reacquaint us with our loved ones and help us get to know them in a new and different way. Sitting down with your loved ones to talk about their lives can be rich and satisfying. Learning about memorable events and people, places and favorite activities, values and lessons they have learned can help bring us closer to those we care about most. The talk helps us reaffirm to our loved ones how much they have impacted our life.
You can have the talk of a lifetime with anyone you hold dear – your parents, children, grandparents, aunts and uncles, a spouse or a friend. It can happen anywhere you and your loved one are most comfortable – over a meal, at home, on a walk, while playing a game. The talk can be between you and your loved one, or you could include others, like family or friends. Your conversation can take place at any time, not just at the end of life.
Sometimes, using a visual prompt, such as a photo album, souvenir, or memento, can be a great way to start a conversation. Memorable occasions, such as the church where your loved one was married or a favorite park can also help someone begin to open up and share their story. Memorialization planning is about becoming reacquainted with the life and memories of a loved one. You could share a memory about a vacation you took together and will always remember, a piece of advice that you cherish, a song that reminds you of them or the ways you will never forget them. You may wish to take notes during or after your conversation, or make an audio recording. You should choose whatever method seems most appropriate and comfortable given the setting of your conversation. Some questions you could ask to start the talk are:
- What is your proudest achievement?
- What was the one piece of advice you received from your parents or grandparents that you never forgot.
- Tell me about the most memorable summer you had growing up.
- Tell me about your favorite teacher; what did you learn from him or her?
- If you could spend a day doing anything you like, what would it be?
- Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Having The Talk does not have to be a one-time occurrence. Rather, think of it as beginning a dialogue during which you can openly talk about a number of things – from reflecting on the past to planning for the future. The things you discuss may also be helpful when you must make important decisions in the future about how you wish to remember and honor your loved ones.
The desire for simplicity with regards to one’s own final arrangements is very common. Recognizing our loved ones’ fundamental need to remember, honor and celebrate our life and achievements is the key to understanding why the talk is extremely important. Our loved ones need to understand about all of our lives and especially how we want to be remembered. Ultimately, their final tribute to us allows them to begin their grief journey. In a way, the talk is the most unselfish gift we can give to those we love.
Memorialization fills a vital role for those mourning the loss of a loved one and encompasses all aspects of honoring a life that has been lived. Memorialization services, visitation, placement in a cemetery, creating a memorial marker or monument, and any other means of paying tribute to our loved ones are all considered to be part of the process of memorialization and are vitally important. By providing surviving family members and friends a caring, supportive environment in which to share thoughts and feelings about the death, memorials are the first step in the healing process. Individuals and their families have more options than ever for memorializing their loved one at the end of life. From simple to very elaborate, there are a variety of ways a family can honor their loved one in a personal and meaningful way. In addition, the ritual of attending a memorial service provides many benefits:
- Providing a social support system for the bereaved
- Helping the bereaved understand death is final and that death is part of life
- Integrating the bereaved back into the community
- Easing the transition to a new life after the death of a loved one
- Providing a safe haven for embracing and expressing pain
- Reaffirming one’s relationship with the person who died
- Providing a time to say good-bye
- It is possible to have a full memorialization service even for those choosing cremation. The importance of the ritual is in providing a social gathering to help the bereaved begin the healing process.
Whether there is an immediate need due to the loss of a loved one or if you are planning in advance, your local funeral director can provide information to get you started. The average person makes funeral arrangements only once or twice in their lifetime. It is natural to feel overwhelmed or perhaps have a fear of the unknown. A funeral director is familiar with the laws of your state as they pertain to your loved one’s arrangements and will help take care of all necessary details. They will contact all interested parties on your behalf, obtain all required permits, file the death certificate and guide you through the decision making process as it relates to services and funeral merchandise. If you are not familiar with a local funeral director, you can seek a recommendation from a neighbor, clergy person, relative or other trusted individual. In addition, you can contact one of the FAMIC member organizations for assistance finding a local provider. Through compassionate education and guidance, your funeral director will help you make informed choices and enable you to arrange a tribute for your loved one that is fitting and appropriate.
The members of FAMIC are here to help. Visit: http://famic.org/index.php/consumer-resources for more information. You can also visit the FAMIC member organization websites below:
- Casket & Funeral Supply Association
- Funeral Service Foundation
- International Memorialization Supply Association
- International Order of the Golden Rule
- Life Insurers Council
- Monument Builders of North America
- National Concrete Burial Vault Association
- National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association
- National Funeral Directors Association
- Selected Independent Funeral Homes