During the last summer that A and I ever spent together, his final summer, we talked about everything.
There is a kind of wisdom that comes as you are forced to sit with death. When A and I invited death in and faced the truth and finality of it, all of the walls we ever built to protect ourselves against pain seemed to come down effortlessly.
In that space, he and I were able to share the deepest and most vulnerable moments we ever had. We talked about everything.
We talked about the future we had envisioned that would now never materialize.
We talked about all of our dreams for our life together. He told me about how he wanted me to go on after his death. He told me his hopes and dreams for me once he would no longer be here.
Every secret we ever kept from one another was now out in the open. There were no more walls, no more pretending to be different than exactly who we were in those moments, no more self-protection and no more white lies. We were two wounded scared humans no longer pretending to have it all together. There was such freedom in that and a sense of liberation. We were connected, heart to heart and soul to soul.
Having had so many of these deep conversations during his sleepless nights, I truly thought I knew all there was to know. And yet, after A passed, as I sat in the living room of the palliative care home where we had spent the last week of his life, his family asked me about his wishes for the funeral and I was stunned.
I had no idea what he wanted.
How did he want to be celebrated and remembered?
What kind of music did he want us to play?
What were his favourite memories of the people he loved?
I had no idea. Somehow, despite the fact that I felt we had talked about everything, I had missed so many opportunities to go even deeper.
And I truly had no idea about what he wanted after his death.
This has been a profound learning experience in my own life. I remember shortly after A’s funeral, sitting with my best friend and telling her my wishes for when my time would come.
She told me hers. We both felt this sense of urgency. This information needed a place to live. Someone should know these important details.
That’s why I love the Remembering A Life’s Have the Talk of a Lifetime Conversation Cards.
Sitting down with loved ones to talk about their lives is a rich and satisfying experience.
Learning about memorable events, people, places, values and lessons they have learned can help bring you closer to the people you care about.
I believe that we should have these conversations before reaching the end of our lives.
Why do we wait before asking the important questions?
Why do we have to face death to have meaningful and deep moments with our loved ones?
Don’t put this off thinking that there will be time.
There is never enough time with those we love.
These cards offer an easy and fun way to start these conversations, even with the youngest members of your family, with different decks for different purposes:
Original Deck: 50 questions that will get the conversation started about life events, experiences and personal beliefs. Also available in Spanish.
Kids Deck: 25 questions designed to include the youngest members of the family in the conversation. A great giveaway for children’s grief centers and camps, hospitals and schools!
Celebrations Deck: 25 questions that invite family and friends to share stories about family celebrations, from birthdays and anniversaries to faith-based and national holidays. A perfect giveaway during the holidays!
I’ve loved using them with my son and my parents. It’s enriched and deepened our connection to one another in a way that is truly special and meaningful. Never again will I put off having deep and vulnerable conversations with those I love the most. I now understand the importance of sharing those moments right now. There is no need to wait until you are facing death to have these talks. There is profound healing in getting to know our people deeper while they are still with us. Knowing that we shared meaningful moments with them helps soothe our grieving hearts when they are gone. Visit my Instagram page for the chance to win your own set of the cards.
Life is so short. Don’t put off having these conversations. You’ll be so grateful for these moments.
About the Author
Marie-Claude Goudreau is a Grief and Anxiety Coach who walks the path of healing with women who have suffered a profound loss. She specializes in creating safe spaces for women to be seen, heard and witnessed in the fullness of their experience of loss. Her approach is based on the assumption that you are the expert of your own grief and her work focuses on guiding you back home to yourself so that you can find meaning in your life in the “after”. Having lost her partner to cancer, her guidance and coaching comes from both education and personal experience which allows her to deeply relate to her client’s experience of grief and loss. She is the founder of Empowered Through Grief, a coaching practice and community that provides a safe space for healing and post-traumatic growth for women grieving all types of loss.