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Have the Talk of a Lifetime.

Jackie Hook | Koch Funeral Home | November 21, 2019


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because for me it is “Christmas without the hype.” I love the focus on gratitude. I love family gathering around the dinner table. And I love the holiday food. In our house we have our longstanding food traditions, although my contributions are mostly… untraditional.


My husband makes the stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, peas and corn. Together we make the turkey. Last year we tried a new cooking method – on the grill – and it was fabulous! And I make the mixed vegetables, applesauce and apple pie – all raw! I marinate the vegetables in Italian salad dressing. Then with the help of a food processor, I mix apples, lemons, nuts and spices, and use the heat of a recently turned off oven to create the other dishes. I must admit, not everyone in my family embraces my contributions, but some do. Our menu often makes for good conversation. When our daughter was in high school, she and a friend were sharing their Thanksgiving feast experiences and after our daughter said that her mother makes raw veggies, applesauce and apple pie, her friend asked, “Does she at least cook the turkey?”


These are just a few of my family’s Thanksgiving traditions. I’m sure your family has their own. I invite you to spend time this holiday talking about your traditions – and creating new ones too. To help you with this, please visit www.kochfuneralhome.com and click on Have the Talk of a Lifetime. You can download both the Activity and the Holiday Guides. These guides include conversation starters, table-talk prompts, activities, games and more. For example, you can use a drop cloth as a table cloth and invite people to write down memories during your meal. Or at dinner you can use the prompt, “What song best reflects you and your life – what would your theme song be?” I hope you’ll enjoy the conversations that follow.


You are also invited to the following gatherings:

  • Monday’s Moments Grief Education and Support Complimentary Luncheon – “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Monday, December 2 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott, 1730 University Drive, State College. Email Jackie@JackieHook.com, call 814-404-0546 or sign up on the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page to RSVP by Wednesday, November 27.

  • Death Café, the third of Monday of the month, December 16 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Webster’s Bookstore Café, 133 East Beaver Avenue, State College with complimentary desserts provided by Webster’s.

For more information about these programs, please visit Koch Funeral Home website’s Bereavement Gatherings and Events section under the Local Resources tab. All of these events are open to the public and space is limited.

We wish you a meaningful holiday!


Author: Jackie Hook, MA, is a spiritual director, celebrant and end-of-life doula. She coordinates the Helping Grieving Hearts Heal program through Koch Funeral Home in State College. For more information, please call 814-237-2712 or visit www.kochfuneralhome.com.

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