The Conversation

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Over the course of a lifetime we have many conversations—most are casual, but a few are key. What is a key conversation?

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A key conversation is one that might affect and enhance your life, your family, or your profession or business. Often, we recognize a key conversation by the degree of unease we feel or the preparation we make beforehand.

When my mother was in her early nineties she brought up what was in her future. To her credit (and not to mine) she said it more than once. I was the one not quite prepared to have the conversation. I didn’t want to deal with the nitty-gritty of an end-of-life scenario; I wanted to hold on to how she was—fragile yet blowing the doors off what we’ve been told age ninety plus should look like.

Mom needed my time; I needed more time. Bless her persistence!

I suggested that she and I have a conversation during the holidays when we would be together and have time to truly talk. I asked her to make a list of everything that was on her mind—no topic was off limits. And, that she could take all the time she needed—no rushing—which was one of her primary complaints about life.

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What I Learned

While the details of our conversation are private I can share a few highlights of my experience in case you and your parents are on the edge of having this key conversation:

  • In giving my mother all the time she needed, she was able to express in great detail her hopes and fears. My mother hated to the fullest extent of the word becoming a burden. She had always been able to manage and saw some of that ability slipping away.
  • My mother deserved all of the compassion and patience that I could muster. And, a great deal more praise for how she managed to basically run her own life—from me and from society.
  • She needed to know that she could count on me when the time came. She needed for me to know that she would try not to abuse the privilege.

Granny

Mom just a few weeks before she passed away at age ninety seven.

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