"Talk Turkey" with your Family this Thanksgiving Holiday

Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner.  Families will travel from near and far to be with their loved ones. The tune of "Over the River and Through the Woods" gently plays as we embark on this journey on highways, trains and airplanes each November.  Often, multiple generations will gather to share a home cooked (or not) meal, watch or play some football, and share personal conversations while spending precious time together.   Along with counting blessings and expressing gratitude, it is an opportune time to discuss a difficult topic that has often been avoided.

Opportunity knocks.  Seize the moment! 

Besides setting the table this Thanksgiving holiday with decorations befitting the holiday and special plates loaded with Turkey, gravy covered mashed potatoes and Nana’s famous cranberry sauce – why not "set the table" with a conversation you won’t regret.   

While Grandpa is busy carving the turkey, why not ask him if he has a plan for what happens after he dies. Why not ask him if he has special wishes he'd like to share with you so you can honor those wishes. Why not ask him whether or not he wants a funeral or a memorial service. Ask him what music he'd like played and who he wants you to contact.  Be sure to ask him how he wants his life to be celebrated.

You can talk about what he doesn't want too! That information is just as important to know.

You’ve got everyone’s attention while enjoying your family's traditional Thanksgiving feast, so why not take advantage of engaging in one of the most important conversations you will ever have with your parents and loved ones - whether they are age 85, 55 or 35.

Having conversations about planning for death don’t need to be morose.  Once you ask your Grandpa, or your Dad, whether he wants to be cremated or buried, you might just trigger an avalanche of extremely important information that has been locked behind “closed doors” just waiting to burst forth at this very opportune moment. 

Thanksgiving may feel to you like an inappropriate time to ask your parents about their plans for what happens after their deaths, but if you wait too long to have those kinds of candid conversations, you may not get the answers you will want and need to know when the inevitable happens.  You may end up being pleasantly surprised to learn that your parents, and even your brothers and sisters, are actually quite eager to talk. Everyone has a story to tell. 

So consider shaking up the usual “comfortable” dinner conversations at the Thanksgiving table this year and ignite the most important conversation you will ever have.  Just remember to be sure to document it!