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SW: Feature Report Channel
Reported December 6, 2013

Conversation Project: Talking About Death

BOSTON (Ivanhoe Newswire) – It’s the conversation many of us avoid: dying and end of life wishes. But, after dealing with her mother’s death, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ellen Goodman founded The Conversation Project.

“We need to have these conversations early and at the kitchen table and not in the ICU,” Goodman told Ivanhoe. “[The conversation] can reduce unease and uncertainty.”

Martha Hayward and her family grappled with their mom’s care, and after several years of being in and out of hospitals they finally had the conversation.

“When my mother died, we were given—the word I can use is peace,” Hayward told Ivanhoe.

As a single woman Patricia Knight worried that no one in her family would know her true wishes, so she called a family meeting.

“Once I got going it was actually relaxing and it was a little bit cathartic,” Knight told Ivanhoe.

The Conversation Project created a starter kit that allows people to fill out very specific wishes and give it to loved ones. Some of the questions you’re asked to think about: what is most important to you in your last phase of life? Who do you want to be involved in your care? Who do you want making decisions for you?

Maureen Bisognano says that’s what happened when her family fulfilled her 17-year-old brother’s wishes to die at home.

“There was a tremendous sense of relief that he had expressed his wishes,” Bisognano told Ivanhoe.

Goodman says you are never too young to have the conversation and if a child is facing a serious illness parents should talk to their children about wishes as well. For more information and to get the starter kit, go to www.theconversationproject.org. MORE.

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