Many times, our most humbling and direct conversations happen in the kitchen. Table talk develops into character training, commitments, future planning, and overwhelming heart to heart discussions. While preparing a meal or cleaning off the table, open up to the idea of talking. Small talk at first, then deep thoughts, and hard conversations. My father didn’t want to cause anymore undue pain and stress for my mother, so he never talked to her about the cancer or dying. Instead, he talked to me.
As we sat around their old wooden table, his hands clasped together, he looked up at me and said, “It’s going to be okay.” Oh my gosh, I can’t believe he just said that. How could he? My daddy is leaving me and he just said it was going to be okay. I could feel my heart about to race out of my body and a huge lump resurrect in my throat. Fighting back the swelling tears in my eyes, I asked, “How can you be okay with any of this?” When I could finally see his face through the tears, his head was tilted a little to one side and a shimmer of a grin was on his face.
“I’m a winner either way,” he softly spoke. “If I go, I see all those gone before me and my sweet Jesus. If I stay, I have all of you. It is a win-win for me. I worry about your mom, you, your brother, and the grandkids. But I don’t want you to worry about me. I can handle this. I just don’t want to see the pain in your eyes,” his voice cracked when he spoke. Wow, how could I be as strong as he is over the next couple of days, weeks, even months?
That was my daddy. Always concerned with our happiness, not his. I never wished that I would have those conversations with him. They were the last things I wanted to talk about, but now, since his passing, as hard as it was to sit across from him and not break in a million pieces, those conversations are cherished memories.
Laugh, cry, scream, embrace, touch, and hug. Emotions are all over the place right now, and it’s okay. Talk about the memories of past vacations and good times. Allow yourself to laugh silly. Crack up so much that you are rolling on the floor. Smile like crazy and feel the warmth of love blanketing you. Cry at the thought of leaving and not being here. Scream at the cancer. Scream at the disease. It’s okay to get mad, as long as it is at the cancer and not your loved ones, and especially not at your creator. Embrace each other. Touch one another. More importantly, linger in your hugs. Time can either be friend or foe. Hope beyond all understanding. Each day begins and ends with hope.
And in the middle of your day, talk. Voice your concerns, fears, heartache, and disappointment. Get it out. If you leave all the voices inside, it will eat away at you. Find someone to talk to. If you don’t have a loved one, go see your spiritual advisor. If you don’t have a pastor, seek out a friend. Don’t keep it inside. Table talk gives us renewed strength and hope to continue putting one foot in front of another.
Embrace the idea of talking around the table.
1. Don’t try to talk about everything all at once. Start off slow.
2. Use this time to express your unconditional love for someone.
3. Explain your wishes.
4. Talk about what needs to happen in your finances, your home, and your employment.
5. Reflect on a great memory.
6. Share your fears of being sick and dying.
1. Hey, Do you remember when?
2. I love the way you…
3. How are you really doing with all this?
4. Do you know where the papers to…are?
5. Maybe we should go talk with someone…
6. What do we do now?
There are so many ways to open and get the conversation started. Remember, for every difficult conversation that you have, spend the next couple of days with light hearted talks. Keep it real and honest. Don’t make every talk a difficult one. Otherwise, it will start draining you instead of giving you hope.
Much grace abounds toward you…