Over the past several years, people from all over the country have opened up their hearts to The Conversation Project (TCP). Through the sharing of a myriad personal narratives, TCP has been able to build our campaign and use the messages from these stories to reemphasize the deep necessity of having end-of-life conversations. To show our appreciation to all who have opened the doors into their personal lives to support our work, the TCP team has decided to reciprocate by showing you who we are, why we do what we do and how this work has impacted us.
How long have you been a part of the TCP team and, in your own words, how would you describe your role?
I have been with TCP since July. I would say I wear many hats when it comes to TCP. I’m the person people talk to when they have questions about what we do, what resources we can offer, and how people can get involved. I also update the TCP website, and read through “your stories” as they are submitted.
What has been the ultimate highlight of working on the team?
The best part of being on the TCP team is witnessing the support and the passion behind the work. Everyone on the team is so kind. We’re very team oriented and no one has to find an answer alone.
What has been your greatest lesson learned?
Before I looked into working with TCP I had never heard of a healthcare proxy or even an advanced care directive. There’s a misconception that these topics are only for older people or those that are seriously ill, but this is something that is important for everyone. I always thought it would be someone older, with more authority in my family that would have to initiate the conversation, but my family has been surprisingly receptive to having the conversation when I brought it up. I think this goes back to a point we often make at TCP, sometimes people want to have the conversation, but they just don’t know how.
We recently came out with a pin that says “#Talking Matters”. The idea behind these pins is that, when worn, they act as a subtle reminder of the potency of a meaningful conversation; they remind people of the spirit of TCP. What does “talking matters” mean to you?
There are lots of things that go unspoken between loved ones. Even when you think you know a person well, sometimes you can still be unsure about someone’s wishes. When you talk to one another there is no doubt, no lingering guilt, just a surety that you will do what’s best for a loved one if and when you need to. That’s what matters and that’s why talking matters.
I have been aware of your organization for a number of years now. Thank you for all that you do!
I was my mother’s caregiver and so grateful to have that role. I loved and admired her. She was always open, prepared and matter-of-fact about her end of life wishes. She shared those plans and wishes with me. Ultimately, as years passed, she had Alzheimer’s and would not have been able to share her plans with me when the time approached. I was relieved of most decision making responsibilities and also of any doubt as to what she would have wanted. Those earlier conversations were a loving gift from her to me.