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November is 'Time for Family, Time for Talk' month

by on November 03, 2017 3:54 PM

Last spring, I sat in a circle of elders as we took turns answering questions from the "Have the Talk of a Lifetime" deck of cards. The cards posed questions such as: What words of wisdom would you pass on to your childhood self? What is the scariest thing that ever happened to you? What are your favorite foods? Do you have a signature recipe? 

Each person read a question aloud, gave an answer and then invited others to share their thoughts. At the end of our time together, one participant said to me, “I wasn’t sure how this was going to go, but I liked it!” We all enjoyed remembering, thinking about what was important to us and learning new things about one another. We became a stronger community together.
Imagine having this kind of experience with loved ones and family members. Perhaps we think we know everything there is to know about them, but you might be surprised. For example, do you know if they have passions they wish they could pursue but haven’t yet? Or if there are things they’ve learned from their children or other young people in their life/family?

I was a part of another gathering asking these same types of important questions, and a couple who had been married for more than 60 years remarked that they were still learning new things about one another.
November is "Time for Family, Time for Talk" month. It's a time to share stories and remember and learn about what matters most to the people who matter most to you. The Funeral and Memorial Information Council created this event to encourage families to "Have the Talk of a Lifetime" — engaging in meaningful conversations reflecting on the past and planning for the future.

I’ve had the privilege of working with families who have had these conversations. In particular, I think of one family who recorded their patriarch’s response to the question "What does your perfect day look like?" What a gift it was to have this recording both when he was alive and then after he died. It meant so much to everyone at the memorial service to hear this man’s very own voice sharing his wisdom. The recording will continue to provide healing for the family as they listen in the future.
For various cultures, this time of year includes many opportunities to remember, honor, reminisce, share and express gratitude, from the end of October and the beginning of November with All Hallows’ Eve, Halloween, All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day and Dia de los Muertos, through the month of November with Veterans Day, World Kindness Day, Thanksgiving, National Day of Listening and National Day of Giving.
Do you need help getting started with having your own Talk of a Lifetime? It’s easy. Choose one of the special days listed above, gather your family and friends, print the Holiday Guide from the Koch Funeral Home website and begin sharing those meaningful stories.


If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, consider attending one of the following programs:

■ Monday’s Moments complimentary luncheon, “Stories, How Do They Heal?”, noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6, Courtyard by Marriott, 1730 University Drive, State College

Telling our stories of loss is part of how we heal. Hearing others’ stories helps, too. This session will include information about the importance of storytelling and provide opportunities to engage in this practice yourself. RSVP by Friday, Nov. 3.
■ Healing Through the Holidays education and support group, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays, Nov. 13, 20 and 27 and Dec. 4 and 11, CHOICES, 2214 N. Atherton St., State College

The holiday season can be a difficult time for anyone who has experienced the death of someone special. This education and support/discussion group provides time to talk, share and learn how to cope with these often difficult times. RSVP by Friday, Nov. 10.
■ Monday’s Moments complimentary luncheon, “Voices of Grief: Honoring the Sacred Journey,” noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4, Courtyard by Marriott, 1730 University Drive, State College

How can we be helpful to someone who is grieving? How do we move through grief ourselves? In this session we will view this critically acclaimed documentary to help us answer those questions. RSVP by Friday, Dec. 1.
RSVPs can be made by calling (814) 237-2712, emailing [email protected] or visiting the Koch Facebook page.

Hook is a spiritual director and celebrant who coordinates the Helping Grieving Hearts Heal program through Koch Funeral Home in State College. 



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