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All I Want for Christmas September 24, 2019

All I Want for Christmas Blog

I LOVE fall!  And our area (Cincinnati) has wonderful festivals to usher in this great season.  Last night we attended the Glendale Street Fair. Great night of food, beverages and story swapping.  Under the full harvest moon, we heard the story of our new neighbor, Greg.  Three years ago Greg was one of four passengers on a private jet plane that dropped from 41,000 to 8,000 feet in a matter of minutes.  None of the oxygen masks worked properly.  Greg and the pilot – yes I said THE PILOT – passed out!!!  Long story short, they ended up emergency landing with minor injuries.  My obvious question for our new friend… how did this change your life?  One of Greg’s responses…. I’m always calm now.

Awww…a life of peace and calm.  I think most of us would like that.  In our quest for calm we attempt Yoga, walks in the park, vacations or a glass of wine.  Rarely do we look to embracing our own mortality, as Greg did, in order to achieve calm.  However, I’m going to take Greg’s insights on this to heart.  Next week I travel to Kentucky to assist my mother following her hip surgery.  In the past month she and I have discussed checking accounts and wills and medical power of attorney.  During our time together next week she will inevitably ask me what she should get me for Christmas, as it will be less than three months away and already a favorite store of ours, Lowe’s, has Christmas trees on full display.  Did I mention its mid September?  Anyhoo – my mother will be shocked and pleasantly surprised that my answer will be something other than “I don’t need anything.”  What do I want for Christmas?  I want the two of us to sit together over a warm cup of Joe and talk about how we envision our final days.  No kidding.  Share our desires for how we are remembered or celebrated at the time we pass away.  I know this may sound strange but I’m totally psyched about this.  She and I have never had this conversation.  I can’t imagine a more personal and meaningful gift between this daughter and mother at this stage in our lives.  Thinking about it moves me to tears.  Not tears of angst, but of peace and even joy.  Discussing how best to honor each other and making a commitment to each other to do so.  This conversation will beat anything she could order from Amazon.

So thank you, Greg, for sharing your story as I head into a new season of life. Your timing was great.  And thank you to the Conversation Project for sharing tips to have this important discussion in a calm and loving way.  What a gift.

For more information aboutT he Conversation Project, visit https://theconversationproject.org/.


Amy Jo Barkley Amy Jo (AJ) Barkley
staff writer for The Arlington Memorial Gardens. AJ joins the writing and research team at The Arlington Memorial Gardens with a rich background in Human Resources for both corporate and non-profit organizations. As the wife of a Presbyterian Church Minister in Cincinnati, AJ spends her time working in the church and helping multiple charities and non-profit organizations. Her desire is that the tidbits of information she discovers and shares are helpful and hopeful!



  1. REPLY
    Kristina says

    I love this idea!

  2. REPLY
    Karen Limoseth says

    Great idea, AJ. So many people don’t want to talk about their last days. It is coming, folks, so why not be ready?
    God Bless you and your Mom.

  3. REPLY
    Kate says

    Awesome story! It’s amazing how one person’s story can inspire someone or many someone’s stories! Thank you!

  4. REPLY
    Pamela says

    Beautiful idea! Isn’t it wonderful the insight we gain from other’s thoughts and experiences:)

  5. REPLY
    Edwin says

    Thank you for this; very insightful and inspiring. I’m so glad that Arlington is doing this blog!

  6. REPLY
    Stacie says

    Loved this. Always so insightful! What a beautiful Christmas gift idea.

  7. REPLY
    Ashley says

    Great article, thanks for sharing! During the holidays, we all need a reflection of peace and calmness.

  8. REPLY
    Amy says

    I will plant a fig tree in your memory. And name it Newton. XOXO

    • REPLY
      Chloe says

      Amazing story!

  9. REPLY
    Letha howell says

    Great article, AJ.

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