Have the Talk of a Lifetime™ is a global campaign encouraging families to have conversations about life and what matters most. Through the telling of their life story, individuals are helped to make important decisions about how they wish to be remembered and can help families honour the life of their loved one, when the time comes. Having these conversations prior to a death generally removes the anxiety associated with such an emotionally laden topic as death.
Through meaningful memorialization — that is, taking time to reflect on the unique life of a loved one and remembering the difference they are making (and have made) — families and friends take an important step in the journey toward healing after death. Today, individuals and their families have more options for memorializing their loved one at the end of life.
Memorialization is so much more than it used to be. It can reflect a person’s life story, their values, interests, and experiences. It is transformative, healing, and comforting. Meaningful memorialization planning starts when loved ones talk about what matters most: memories made, lessons learned, and how they hope to be remembered.
Having the talk of a lifetime can make the difference of a lifetime. It can help reacquaint us with our loved ones and help us get to know them in a new and different way.
“My father-in-law has COPD and we’ve been looking for the right time to have the talk with him. He’s very private and often jokes around to cover up how he’s really feeling. Our young daughter came up with some questions that she wanted to ask her grandpa that would help her get to know him better. So she proceeded to ask him, "What are your proudest of in your life, who’s been your greatest role model, if you went back to school what would you become." The questions and answers led to some incredible, tear jerking conversation and we saw this man in a whole new different way.”
This conversation might seem tough to have, but it doesn’t need to be. What’s most important is that you have the conversation, not how you have it.
There are many different ways to begin the conversation. You know your family and how your loved ones might best respond to the topic. For some families, it might be a casual conversation over dinner or at another type of family gathering. For other families, a formal meeting might be better suited.
Regardless of your approach, the conversation is much easier to have when death is not imminent.
Here are some tips that may help:
Set a time to have the conversation. Schedule it as an appointment with your loved ones, whether you want to share your plans with them or ask them to make their plans to share with you.
Ease into the conversation. Questions such as “Have you ever thought about where you would like to be buried?” or “What type of funeral would you like to have?” may open the discussion to more details about your loved one’s wishes.
Take advantage of funeral-related opportunities. Attending the funeral of a friend, family member or colleague or watching a movie or television show with funeral scenes may naturally prompt the discussion with your own loved ones. Talk about what you liked or didn’t like about the services you saw or attended.
Tell your children or loved ones that because you care for them so much, you don’t want to burden them with difficult decisions when you’re gone. Tell them you’ve made your own final arrangements, and give them a written record of what they are.
Wrap a copy of your pre-arrangement in a gift box, and present it to your family. Invite your adult children along to participate in the selection of services, funeral merchandise and cemetery property. Sharing stories with those who matter most isn’t just important today; it will be especially significant when it’s time to commemorate a life.
Questions like the following help loved ones know you better and allow for greater personalization of funeral ceremonies.
What are you most thankful for?
What is your proudest achievement?
What was the best piece of advice given to you?
What makes you laugh or smile?
Name 3 – 5 words that describe you the best.
It was 100%. I got many comments on how things were handled.
Nothing could have been done to better improve my experience. Nathan, I was more than pleased with everything. Thank you.
I found yourselves very helpful and can’t think of anything negative in our experience with yourselves. We were satisfied [nothing could have been done to better serve us, including] also the travel to Tapleytown (Hamilton) at a low cost where the burial took place.
Everything was perfect. We had many comments on the service and the little personal touches – that makes it special. Keep up the personal touches!!!
Nothing comes to my mind as to what you could have done to improve our experience. My whole family was so pleased, as was I, with every detail. All of the details were so well presented and the full staff were so helpful. In terms of pricing, we received what we asked for ten-fold. Every aspect of Jim’s funeral was so well presented and we would certainly pass this on to others.
There was nothing that could have been improved. (Except the weather!) The prices were reasonable, especially with the services provided. Thank you so very much. With such a large family, everyone was very pleased on professionalism and presentation.
I don’t think there is anything more you could have done. Everything was so professionally done, in our experience. I don’t know any place that goes the extra mile to help families accommodate their needs. Nothing could have been improved. We could not have been more satisfied.
It felt as if you had met and knew John! All of us agreed that John would have approved. Many friends commented on how lovely the service was and how it suited John.
I really can’t think of anything you could have done to better improve our experience. The only other funeral that I helped arrange was for my father, and at that time I didn’t get the same sense of professionalism or sympathy. Nathan was willing to accept our suggestions, and also to “take the lead” in showing us the next step and what was expected, even to putting details of the funeral into my computer!
You did a wonderful job from start to finish. I can’t think of anything you need to improve on. Great job! Helping us to wade through the government forms was great! Saved us a lot of anxiety. We will definitely recommend your funeral home. Wonderful service with kind and caring staff.
I don’t see how you can improve exceptional services. Whatever was necessary on your part to provide was done without question. You eliminated much paperwork and guided us through a painful process with empathy and professionalism.
I feel the professional quality of services my family received was second to none.
Nathan, I can’t tell you how much your care and support has meant to my whole family. You obviously take great pride in the service you provide. I can’t think of anything you could have done to help us more. You, your mom and Terri-Ann make an excellent team. I had so many compliments on the set up and the service. I sing your praises to everyone who asks. Keep up the fantastic work.
Ruth Stephen and family
It was exceptional how Nathan opened our hearts and minds to give info; then transferred into so many ‘on target’ ways. Also very comforting and understanding to us all. Many comments, impressed, liked all that was done, respectful family-like atmosphere at all times. Especially kind to young members of family as well. Above and totally beyond expectation – Thanks.
What one thing could we have done better to improve your experience?
Nothing, we were very happy with services and support provided to our family. Well done. We really appreciated everything that was done for us and how well it was done.
Overall I am extremely pleased. Your kind, caring and professional services went above what I expected. All our needs were met satisfactorily and more.
Everything was done so professionally that I don’t think anything else could have been done.
You go above and beyond with your services and expertise and compassion.
You have succeeded in taking the sadness out of a funeral and made it into a celebration of life and remembrance, which we truly appreciated... Continue doing what you did for us. It was exceptional in every regard.
Our law office often has had many estates involving families who have obtained funeral services from Nathan. He is regarded by my staff and myself as outstanding for his professional, pleasant, and efficient manner. We would highly recommend Rhody Family Funeral Home to anyone.
Ross McLean, McLean Lawyers
Dear Nathan, I cannot say thank you enough for everything you and the rest of the Rhody Family Funeral Home team done for our family with Mom's passing. From the moment you got to Mom's house your professionalism was second to none. You listened and read between the lines yet missed nothing, every little touch was simply perfect, you left nothing undone, your care and compassion to ensure our family made Mom proud one more time, and for that I am forever grateful. You took a very difficult time for us and made it as simple and stress free for us as humanly possible. Nathan you should be very proud of yourself and the rest of your team. You have definitely set the bar very high for any other funeral home in the province to follow. Again thank you
Sincerely, Deb and Doug
Nathan: Thank you so very much for all that you have done for my Mom and my family. Your friendship during this difficult time was truly heartfelt. You made us feel welcome and like a part of your family. The whole time we spoke both at the nursing home and then at your place was a very peaceful experience. Not once were we made to feel like we did not belong there. Your attention to detail in everything that all of us said shows in the story of my Dad’s life and the video. Where there were concerns, you set them all at ease. I so appreciate all that you did for my Mom in helping her take care of cancellations and notifications for my Dad. It set her mind at ease knowing that you were taking care of all of this for her. It set me at ease knowing that she would not have to deal with the frustrations that sometimes come in taking care of these things. You and your family have gone above and beyond in all that you have done for us and I am truly thankful. The warmth and caring went home with us that day. We knew that the right choice had been made in allowing you to take care of my Dad. Again, thank you.
Your services are respectful, accomodating and very professional. An excellent job done. Thank you.
Our aunt & uncle were buried from a different funeral home and we noticed a huge difference in the funeral home services provided. Our mom and dad looked so natural (thank you!) while our aunt and uncle did not. Thank you Nathan, we can't begin to tell you how much we appreciate you and your staff this year!
Ann Legge, Patricia Tibbo & Jane Lembke
All the worlds a stage and all the men and women merely players." Rhody Family Funeral Home takes this and runs with it in an intricate and tasteful manner. The beautiful funeral home sets the stage to reflect the deceased's individual personality. Nathan's artistic ability is only surpassed by his compassion, sincerity and understanding. He goes above and beyond the required duties. His staff is second to none. Darlene Rhody soft spoken and sympathetic and Morris Emke gentlemanly and obliging. Pastor Terri-Ann is like no other with her comforting words of wisdom and encouragement and so compassionate. Her service was nothing short of beautiful. A very heartfelt thank you to Nathan and his staff for making an unpleasant experience bearable. And hats off to Rhody Family funeral home for sending dad -Ross Hammond off in the fashion he deserved. From my mom and my siblings our sincerest gratitude.
Personnel, facilities, advise & support all exceeded our expectations - it helped to communicate details by email. In particular, both Nathan and Terri-Ann did an excellent job! I was surpised at the after service documentation - all details well organized.
Nathan and staff were kind and helpful throughout the process. They really went above and beyond to make the experience as positive as possible.
Everything was great - many great comments made about the story alone on Pearl's life and we sent copies to people who could not attend - a very nice addition.
Family of Pearl Stephen
Our experience was amazing under the circumstances. Your services were perfect. You went above and beyond our expectations. You are very caring, compassionate and professional in your approach. You create a very therapeutic environment.
"Dear Nathan, your many caring and creative touches from the notice to the burial in the days following Catharine's (McKeeman) passing meant so much to all of us. You honoured her life in so many meaningful ways. Your compassion and celebration of her life will always be remembered by all those Catharine held dear."
Ian Campbell, Catharine's Brother
“Nathan, you did an absolutely amazing job. People give us compliments about everything from the life story to the beautiful, elaborate displays at the visitation. I tell everyone it was you. All the surprises - the cookies, the recipe cards, the signing picture - all amazing!”
Kim and Alan Grant
“Staff were professional and friendly.”
Lawrence and Heather Lamarche
“Nathan, you present yourself very well. Facilities were all that could be expected.”
“I would recommend your funeral home to everyone. Nathan’s ability to put you at ease, with a caring attitude is super and very respectful!”
“We were all very impressed.”
“Dear Nathan - You did a good job. Thank-you for all your help and all the information you obtained for me."
“Your sense of humour was a plus! You and your staff clearly have a calling for the work that you do. We all felt that we were in good hands throughout the entire process…. Nathan, thank you for everything. You made things easy for us, as we felt like we were working on Dad’s arrangements with family. We gave Dad a great send off and thank you and your staff for being a part of it.”
“Letters cancelling Gov’t services was a great help and was very much appreciated.”
William & Loraine Patterson
“You did everything really well. All needs were met and then some.… We received positive comments on the stationary. Great keep sakes. The book and slideshow were beautiful.”
“We had no concerns- worries, nothing, but confidence in the staff – we knew exactly how everything would happen and when - it was so nice not to have to concern ourselves with anything.”
"I don't think there is anything more you or your staff could do."
"No improvement needed. We were pleased with everything."
“I would not have changed anything. Thanks very much – Nathan and staff.”
“New renovations are very inviting and warm. All your new cards and books are very heart warming and keepsakes.”
"Staff were outstanding. Overall, it was great. Everything was perfect."
“Staff is exceptional!... All needs were met.”
“Service was beyond expectations… Already recommended to various people.”
“Could not have been more useful – very satisfied! I would highly recommend Rhody Family. Thank you ever so much for your professionalism and expertise.”
“Honestly, you and your staff made this time in my life the best it could be and were extremely helpful, respectful, professional and accommodating to my needs and my family’s needs, especially providing me with a space to feed [my child] if needed. Thank you for everything”
“Everything was perfect; it’s always nice to have lots of options.”
“Thank you for all your empathy, compassion and professionalism. Our family… is very grateful that we chose Rhody Family Funeral Home to look after our loved one.”
“Your services were excellent. Thank you again.”