November 20, 2016 Bethesda, Maryland
Last year, 87 million Americans drove over fifty miles in a frenzied attempt to connect with relatives and friends for Thanksgiving. Will you be on the road next week? What are your motives? Will it be worth it?
The expression, Let’s talk turkey, refers to ‘having a focus, getting down to business.’ Will you commit to making your holiday visit more productive? It’s an ideal intergenerational time to talk about end-of-life wishes, hear and discuss each other’s opinions. If you’re thinking: ‘Easier said than done…’ watch these three short YouTube interviews with Ellen Goodman, co-Founder (2012) of The Conversation Project:
I have another trick up my sleeve—a Guest Blog post from Susan Soper, creator of ObitKit. You read it correctly: ObitKit. Using Susan’s guidelines, ask your family to help write your obituary. Before you read her Guest Blog, take a quick romp through her website www.obitkit.com
How-to Make It Through the Holidays
As the holidays are approaching, perhaps you will be experiencing a number of heartbreaking firsts this year:
“First Thanksgiving”: a special someone is missing from the table.
“First Christmas and Hanukkah in December”: you’re flooded with the spirit of loving and giving—and now, cherished memories from the past.
“First New Year”: you wonder: A whole year? How am I going to do this alone? Birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days, vacations, graduations, weddings, new births…you get the idea! It’s a daunting prospect. A loved one has died, but that doesn’t mean the memories of them do, too.
Our solution for enduring these rituals? We can keep their spirit alive with new traditions:
- hang their stockings on the fireplace
- use their most raved about recipes in our holiday meals
- include their beloved ornaments or flowers in the centerpiece
- listen to music they loved
- attend their regular religious services and community programs.
Talking about them keeps their spirit, memory, and legacies alive. You can almost feel their presence as you recall top achievements, beloved stories, even missed opportunities—quirks, habits, oft-quoted sayings.
What about when it’s your turn to be missing at the table? How would you like that conversation to go? While you’re healthy, provide the leadership and guidance to discuss your final wishes. It’s the best gift! This avoids the guesswork and critical decision making during a heartbreaking, grieving time. State your exact wishes about how you’d like to be remembered and celebrated verbally and in writing. They’ll be relieved to know your final wishes and be able to honor them.
Susan Soper is the author and founder of ObitKit: Live. Love. Laugh. Cry. Write it down! a workbook to help other families avoid the guesswork and last-minute decisions at the most heartbreaking time. www.obitkit.com