The holidays are the perfect time to have the conversation.
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Our mission: Fostering meaningful and effective conversations about end of life care 

Take Advantage of this Precious Time Together

What makes for a meaningful holiday family gathering? 

  • Sharing good food? 
  • Watching football together? 
  • Sharing laughs and memories? 
  • Completing a puzzle?
  • Reminiscing about a loved one who has died?  
  • Talking about one’s own death? 

Wait, wait, you say! What could possibly be fun about the last two items? Remember, the goal is meaningful, not fun! 

A friend’s father died recently after open heart surgery. Complex decisions about life-sustaining treatments and questions about his wishes caused considerable  turmoil in the family. Had he initiated a conversation last Christmas about his wishes, might his death have been more peaceful and his family more at peace?

Wondering where to start with this conversation? How can you make it meaningful? Will it actually effect the care that I receive? The Starter Kit is the place to start and we have created guidelines for you.

Having trouble getting started? You may wish to use one of our trained coaches. They meet with individuals, couples and families. This is a free service. Do take advantage of this precious time together. Click here to request a coach.

Coping with holidays when a loved one has died

Although the holidays can demand a lot of us, we do have the right to make decisions about how we cope with those demands. We can decide what things we’ll take part in, which we won’t, and what we can modify to suit our needs. This is a sensitive season – take good care of yourself! Kim Mooney's Practically Dying website offers lots of helpful resources, including this holiday checklist.

The November issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance features an article titled Talk To Your Parents About CaregivingAARP’s Public Policy Institute recently reported that there are 10 million millennial caregivers in the US and that they average 21 hours a week caring for their elders. Is this what your parents expect of you? 

Is this something you are willing and able to do? Do your parents have long term care? Are they able to afford assisted living? Such topics are not easy to discuss but it is better to know the truth rather than be surprised when a health crisis presents itself. There is a question in the Starter Kit about where you wish to receive care. It is important to discuss this difficult topic.

Who should initiate these sensitive discussions? The adult child or the parent? To that end, we have plans to develop the 45/75 Initiative. The plan is to engage 40-somethings in identifying their own values and wishes so that they are better prepared to talk to their 70-something parents. Stay tuned. We are planning a series of house parties with the goal of normalizing these conversations. If you are a 40-something, let us know if you are interested in participating.

The 5-part Gunbarrel Faith Partnership, Thoughtful Endings series, attracted nearly 100 individuals to this “cluster of congregations.” If your faith community and others in its vicinity might be interested in hosting a similar series, contact us at We will help you organize a series focusing on topics of your choice but this outline of the Gunbarrel Partnership will provide you with ideas.

(pictured below) On November 11th, 30 people came out on a snowy day to attend the final session of the series. It was titled “Your Precious Body After Death” and was held at the Vinelife Church in Gunbarrel. (in the photo, L to R) Karen van Vuuren of the Natural Funeral, Mike Dudley of Rundus Funeral Home and Constance Holden of The Conversation Project in Boulder County

Dear Constance,

I so appreciated the thoughtfulness with which you and Leto presented to us as a group and also facilitated such impressive engagement from participants.

I am sure the “Starter Kit” will be very helpful to my wife and me as we try to bring this challenging discussion forward with my parents. I know my parents have attended diligently to their overall estate work and planning, including “Advanced Medical Directives.” But of course the documents just sit in a “safe" and have never been discussed.  I have always been inclined to “respect their privacy.”  Now I am much more concretely aware of the need to broaden my respectful consideration to also include gentle discussion and conversation so that their wishes have a significantly better chance of being fully understood and implemented.

Again, thank you. Sincerely,

Michael Travers
Travers Collaborative Law & Mediation
Michael K Travers Jr, MA, JD


  • Education consultant Kim Mooney took the message of The Conversation Project in Boulder County to Basalt for their annual Senior Law Day.
  • Director Constance Holden contributed to an article entitled "What We Want At The End" in the UU World, the national publication of the Unitarian Universalist Association. 
  • Scott Johnson, graphic designer and webmaster for TCP, entertained the audience at a recent luncheon hosted by TRU Community Care while Constance Holden talked about how her father would have benefited from months of hospice care instead of days.  
TCP director and co-founder Constance Holden at TRU Community Care's fundraising luncheon on Nov. 15 at The Academy in Boulder.

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What would the end of the year be without a request for support? Your support enables The Conversation Project in Boulder County to not charge for its presentations or coaching services. 
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1123 Spruce Street
Boulder, Colorado 80302

(303) 442 0436, ext. 133

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