2018 - Nov - The Daily News - Time for Family, Time for Talk - Conversations Count

By: Jackie Hook
Monday, November 12, 2018

Conversations Count: Time for Family, Time for Talk Month
John B. Brown Funeral Home, Inc. - Huntingdon, PA

Years ago my husband John met Jim in State College. John was a Penn State student coordinating Movin’ On – the annual spring-weekend concert event – and Jim was co-owner of the local company that provided the sound system for the concert. The two of them quickly became friends. 

Once John and I started dating, Jim became my friend too. So good a friend that a few years later he was one of the groomsmen in our wedding and we spent a couple hours of our wedding night sleeping on the floor in the upstairs of Jim’s duplex apartment before getting up early the next morning to drive to the airport to go on our honeymoon.

When we moved to Florida, we kept in touch and were excited when Jim met and married Michelle. The four of us travelled together, including what we all consider the best pre-children vacation we’ve ever had – a week at a ranch in Montana.

In 1999, life brought us closer geographically again when we moved about 20 miles away from them in Bucks County. Now as parents, all eight of us spent time together and supported one another.

We spent the exciting but uncertain Y2K New Year’s Eve with them. Theirs was the home we went to on that tragic and scary Tuesday in 2001 – September 11th. Jim and Michelle and their children were family.

We began to notice that some of Jim’s body movements were very deliberate and intentional and occasionally involved shaking. Eventually Jim told us he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. He was a young, vibrant, full-of-life man and this was sad news. Jim and Michelle navigated their way through the disease.

Our family moved to State College and unfortunately didn’t see Jim and his family as often, although we kept in touch. And then one day out of the blue, our doorbell rang and we opened the door to find Jim standing there, totally unannounced.

Excited to have him there, we spent the afternoon talking, reminiscing and sharing. We learned new things about Jim and he learned things about us – we paid attention to what matters most. After several hours, Jim left and drove home.

What we didn’t know at the time was that was going to be the last conversation we ever had with Jim. His health deteriorated and he died a few months later.

That afternoon conversation brought John and me great comfort. At the time we had it, at the time of Jim’s death, and over the years since then. Conversations count.

November is Time for Family, Time for Talk month, time to have these important conversations as you gather with loved ones. And to help you, the Funeral and Memorial Council (FAMIC) created Have the Talk of a Lifetime, a campaign with resources to help you talk about what matters most and how you want to be remembered.

The staff of John B. Brown Funeral Home believes in the importance of Have the Talk of a Lifetime. Visit their website’s homepage for links for additional information, including a holiday guide to download and print. Have these conversations around the Thanksgiving table, in the car on the way for a visit, whatever works for you. Others who have had fun and are grateful they did!

If you would like to learn more about Have the Talk of a Lifetime and various other topics, you’re invited to participate in one of our upcoming events:

 

  • Adult Children of Aging Parents (ACAP) - “Have the Talk of a Lifetime,” Tuesday, November 13 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Best Western PLUS University Park Inn and Suites, 115 Premiere Drive, State College – This presentation will encourage families to talk with loved ones about life, the things that matter most and how you want to be remembered. Here too, you will leave with your own deck of Have the Talk of a Lifetime cards. Registration is appreciated; call 1-877-599-2227 (ACAP) or email.
     
  • Healing through the Holidays Education and Support Group, Every Monday, November 19, November 26, December 3, December 10 and December 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at CHOICES, 2214 N. Atherton Street, Upper Level, State College - The holiday season can be a challenging 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 what can be difficult times. Please join us for these free gatherings. RSVP by November 16.
     
  • Monday’s Moments Complimentary Luncheon – “Meaningful Memories and Moments,” Monday, December 3 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott, 1730 University Drive, State College – After the death of a loved one, you miss them over the holidays.  Thinking about Meaningful Memories and Moments can bring comfort. At this gathering we'll share about some of these memories and watch the important documentary, Voices of Grief: Honoring the Sacred Journey. From this gathering, you will leave with the encouragement to heal in your own way. RSVP by Wednesday, November 28.  

Unless specified above, RSVP to Jackie Hook by email or call 814-404-0546.  These events are open to the public. For additional information, please visit the Helping Grieving Hearts Heal Community Events page on the John B. Brown Funeral Home website. 

We wish you and your family many meaningful conversations!

Jackie Hook, MA, is a spiritual director and celebrant.  She coordinates the Helping Grieving Hearts Heal program through John B. Brown and Koch Funeral Homes.  For more information, please call 814-643-1256 or visit www.johnbbrownfuneralhome.com.

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