2021 - October - Gazette - Have the Talk of Lifetime

By: Jackie Naginey Hook
Thursday, October 28, 2021

Have the Talk of a Lifetime

It was our usual Monday morning walk through the neighborhood about one month ago. My husband, John, and I were a little over one mile in and walking up a hill when he sighed in frustration. I asked what was going on. Silence. I asked again with more urgency. After a pause, he said something was feeling different in his chest and his breathing.

Thus began our adventure that led to John’s ER visit, hospital stay, heart catheterization and stent placement in his left anterior descending (LAD) artery due to an 80% blockage – heart attacks that occur here are sometimes referred to as “widowmakers.” An adventure that was full of concerns and uncertain moments but ultimately full of gifts. The gift that John didn’t have a heart attack. The gift that he was able to be seen in the Mount Nittany Medical Center Emergency Department and get a room in the Progressive Care Unit at a time when the COVID hospitalizations were high. The gift that the Mount Nittany Physician Group cardiologists recognized the symptoms in John’s story and treated him with the appropriate procedures. The gift that the procedures could be done at MNMC so he didn’t have to be transported to another facility for more invasive options. The gift that John is much safer and healthier now than we ever knew he wasn’t. And mostly, the gift that John is here.

I’m going to say that again, the gift that John is here. Not everyone’s adventures end this way; we are incredibly fortunate. My family has been given a huge gift and we can choose how we want to live it.

We’ve had lots of conversations about how to live wholeheartedly. We’ve accepted the invitation to revisit what matters most to us and do some things differently. We’ve internalized these words from Florence Nightingale, “Live your life while you have it. Life is a splendid gift. There is nothing small in it.” The gifts keep coming.

In many of the programs I facilitate, we talk about holding death before us, not in a morbid way but in a seize the day kind of way, so that we can live each day more fully. I know this in a deeper way after John’s heart adventure. It is a gift.

And this gift is available to you too. Although you don’t have to go through an adventure like ours to receive it, you can start paying attention now.

To learn more, you and your loved ones can join us from anywhere in the world for a virtual Have the Talk of a Lifetime gathering on Monday, November 8 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Talks of a Lifetime are about what matters most, who has impacted our lives and how we want to be remembered. The holidays are a great time to be a part of these meaningful conversations and this gathering will get you ready. We’ll share tools to help you have these talks and if you want to go further into end-of-life planning, we’ll have additional resources available. Please RSVP by emailing Jackie@JackieHook.com, calling 814-237-2712 or visiting the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page @kochFH by Friday, November 5.

In addition to Have the Talk of a Lifetime, you are invited to the following gatherings:

For more information, please visit the Bereavement Gatherings and Events page on the Koch Funeral Home website. To reserve your spot and receive the invitation links, email Jackie@JackieHook.com, call 814-237-2712 or visit the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page @kochFH. If there are changes to our in-person gatherings because of COVID, we will provide updates on the website.

Jackie Naginey Hook, MA, is a spiritual director, celebrant and end-of-life doula.  She coordinates the Helping Grieving Hearts Heal program through Koch Funeral Home in State College.  For more information, please call 814-237-2712 or visit www.kochfuneralhome.com.

 

 

 

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