The Power of Conversation in Congregation Beth Torah

Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson has been offering sessions of The Conversation Project for over a year with several more scheduled in the coming months.  We never can anticipate the impact of these events but two families were significantly affected by participation and I'd like to share their stories with you.

A relatively young couple attended a The Conversation Project session during the summer and asked me as organizer a few months later if they could attend another session as they hadn't really followed up with any depth.  Of course I answered yes but before they could attend another session, the husband suddenly died on the way to the hospital having suffered a massive stroke.  How terrible I felt but amazingly the wife consoled me saying that they had recently talked about their end of life wishes while driving in the car with their teenager present.  The family was comforted by knowing several specific wishes their husband and father had shared. There was a peace this family had from just a few moments discussing end of life wishes with naturalness and openness.  Although there was no expectation that either the husband or wife would be shortly dying, the comfort level The Conversation Project provided allowed this couple to talk about end of life wishes.  This prepared the survivors for what would shortly and shockingly happen.  What a gift.

A second family was dealing with the pending death of the man's elderly and sick parent.  Unfortunately the man and his siblings had significant differences in what they each wanted for their father and for themselves regarding their father.  Attending our The Conversation Project session was extremely relevant and timely and presented a path for discussion with all the adult children.  Our member sent copies of the Starter Kit to his siblings to read and ponder the issues.  They then all sat down together for 3 1/2 hours to share thoughts and feelings with each other.  By the end of this time, the family members had negotiated agreements so that when their parent shortly passed there was complete harmony in the family.  At memorial services, the man shared the direct and positive impact The Conversation Project had on his family at a painful time with gratitude for the benefits provided.  His heartfelt appreciation and strong recommendations to attend The Conversation Project sessions have prompted others to volunteer hosting these events and to inquire about future session dates.

Please contact us at should you be interested in attending our summer session August 6.  We typically offer the sessions in homes and would welcome you joining us.

//Zelene Lovitt, Inclusion Initiative Chair

Laurie Miller