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Have You Had “The Talk”?

Have You Had “The Talk”?

by Anna Read, CJFS Fund Development & Outreach Director

Recently, my mom underwent knee replacement surgery. For the first time in a decade, discussions about her Will and Advanced Care Directive surfaced. As she a I delved into her important legal documents, it struck me that my siblings and I hadn’t broached “the talk” with her. No, not the birds and the bees talk – a different, uncomfortable conversation. The one where you discuss, “What do you want us to do if something happens, and you can’t communicate your healthcare wishes?”

Over the next few weeks, my siblings and I assisted Mom in her recovery. One evening during dinner when we were all present, we finally broached “the talk.” Mom walked us through her designated Durable Power of Attorney for healthcare and her Living Will. We asked questions about organ donation, blood type and even lightly touched on her preferences for a funeral.

I must admit, it wasn’t an enjoyable conversation, but afterward, it felt like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders. Mom echoed the sentiment, saying, “I haven’t wanted to burden you with these dark, sad and kind of scary issues, but now, I’m glad we talked about it.” Then, true to her nature, she added, “It’s not like you’re going to need to think about it anytime soon… I’ve got another 20 years in me, easily.” We all laughed, relieved the mood had been lightened, and even more relieved to have the conversation behind us.  Still, I know we will have to revisit “the talk” because these issues are always evolving– our priorities and feelings change over time.

Discussing “What Matters” and sharing your thoughts with loved ones may not be easy but it is necessary to ensure that your goals and wishes, including end of life treatment, are articulated and honored. To help your family, CJFS, in partnership with the Shomer Collective, UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, Birmingham Jewish Foundation, Birmingham Jewish Federation and the LJCC has two free events on Sunday, February 25 to guide you through these important conversations:

“What Matters”, 1–3:00pm at the LJCC (3960 Montclair Rd) An opportunity to reflect and learn about the value of end of life planning and with whom and how to have conversations about it. Click HERE for more info. To register, click HERE.

“Death Over Drinks”, 5—6:30pm at the CJFS Office (3940 Montclair Rd) A more intimate, interactive program that explores celebrating the fullness of life through the lens of mortality. Click HERE for more info. To register, click HERE.