Take the Time to Talk is a Funeral Directors Association NZ campaign which aims to encourage families to sit down and talk to those they love about what and who was important to them in their life.
Do your children, grandchildren and friends know the defining moments of your life? Do they know the day you laughed so hard you cried? Do they know your proudest achievement or your favourite teacher? Do they know who taught you to ride a bike, swim or drive a car?
The sharing of your life story isn't something that has to be done in your absence, don't leave it up to someone else to tell your story - do it now, when you can enjoy being a part of the conversation.
We plan for so many events in our life, but New Zealanders don't appear so keen to plan for their final farewell. As Funeral Directors, every day we see the difficulties families have when trying to make the decisions which will best honour their loved one's life. Why not ease your family's burden by letting them know your opinions ahead of time.
Do you have a favourite place you'd like friends and family to gather? Who would you like there and who do you think would best speak to your life story? Have you thought where you want to be buried, or have your ashes placed? What music or reading do you love and what flower or other symbol best represents your passion?
When the time comes, these conversations can be transformed into a meaningful farewell to remember and celebrate your life.
Sharing your opinions on your final farewell and the sharing of life stories combine to give your family the background and support to know the important information has been discussed in advance, so at the appropriate time they can focus on supporting each other and saying goodbye.
We encourage you to Take the Time to Talk about your life and your final wishes.
SHARE YOUR STORY
Funerals shouldn't be the only time we hear wonderful stories about someone we love. Start the conversation now, learn and share all there is know. Rather than it being a sad conversation, sharing stories can be an enjoyable, comforting event for you and your family.
Start by asking, or sharing, stories about simple occurrences in your life - such as a first job, the purchase of your first car, a mentor or person who taught you a life lesson - all these stories help build a picture of a life which can be honoured and celebrated at the appropriate time.
How to have Meaningful Conversations
There's no right or wrong way to Take the Time to Talk - the important thing is to start. You don't need to cover everything in one sitting - the aim is simply to share memories, enjoying time together learning about the past and about hopes for the future.
- What story do you remember most about your parents?
- What's your happiest childhood memory?
- What was your first car and how much did you pay for it?
- Who was your first love and how did it happen?
- Can you think of a mentor you had who helped shape your thinking?
- What did you do for a living and what lessons did your work life teach you?
- Can you think of an incident that made you laugh until you cried?
- What were your favorite games as a child?
- Did you have pets and what were they?
Family photos, treasured items from your childhood, even family jewelery or books are items that can bring back memories and help the conversation flow.
Sharing your final farewell preferences is an incredibly thoughtful gift to offer your family
There are so many aspects to a funeral including decisions such as who will give the eulogy or say some final words, what you would like to wear for your final farewell, and what music you would like played. Each of these components plays an important role in the value of a funeral and shouldn't necessarily be left up to others to decide. Do you really want your helpful Aunt Mabel to pick your final outfit, or super eager cousin Brian to deliver your life story?
Some people say they don't want a fuss, and even suggest they don't need a funeral. As Funeral Directors, we know that being able to gather, remember and celebrate a person's life allows family and friends to say goodbye in the most meaningful way. Creating a meaningful farewell allows them to begin the journey of saying goodbye.
Families are keen to do the best to honor their loved one, but differing opinions within families can really add to tension at an already difficult time. Families that have had these Take the Time to Talk conversations ahead of time have a much easier path planning the funeral.
By sharing your wishes ahead of time your family don't need to worry about if they are getting things right for you - they can focus on supporting each other at this difficult time.
For more information on planning a meaning farewell, visit these pages on the Funeral Directors Association website:
Learn why funerals are an important part of helping your family grieve
Request a funeral cost estimate
Find a Funeral Director near you