Lots of folks will have the opportunity to sit down and talk with their parents, siblings or children over the next few weeks. For some, the holidays may be the only time during the year has at least one hot topic it’s best to avoid. But there is one subject that should be tackled, even if it seems hard, while everyone is together.
It’s not the birds and bees talk. It’s the final wishes talk. Has the burial or cremation question been answered? Does everyone know about funeral preferences? Open casket or closed casket, religious or not, what do your parents want their closing ceremony to look, sound, and feel like?
How in the world does one approach this subject? Probably not at the dinner table or while opening the gifts or after too many egg nogs. Find a quiet time. Maybe over a cup of coffee in the morning or on a walk after dinner. Consider putting a frame around the questions that establishes why it’s important to you, to know.
Something like this, “I love this family. It’s always so great when we get together. You know I think about all of you even when I am not here. Sometimes I worry about how we will all handle the tough times when they come. What happens if one of us is sick or dies. It would help me if I knew what you would want us to do if you were sick or if we needed to put together a funeral. Can you help me?”
It’s a tough conversation to have. But it was also hard for your parents to talk to you about birth control and drugs. Still, those were important conversations and they helped. This one will help as well. Getting started is the hardest part. The reward might be holding your family together through what is always one of the toughest times for any family. When a parent dies.