I'm working on a project for ABC News that I've been dreaming about doing for more than a decade. It's about what has been, perhaps, the most taboo of topics. But now it's time to bring it out of the closet, and into the open.
We're calling it The Conversation - and it's now in the beginning stages of what we think will become a national trend - to open up to the ones we love about the kind of "goodbye" we want. The kind we could have. This isn't a religious or political process. And it's not all about death. It's about life.
This is not an easy conversation, but it's not as difficult as most people think it is.
Studies show that families that go through this process of The Conversation come out healthier after their loved one dies. Rates of depression in those first six months after the death of a loved one plummet among these families. Studies also show that 70% of us say we want to die at home, but that 70% of us end up dying in a hospital or nursing home. The numbers are flip flopped. The Conversation could change all that, and make it so that our last days don't have to be our worst.
I will add that I have an intensely personal connection to this story, which I will share with you when we launch The Conversation in mid-August (next week). But I'd like to get an early sense of how the folks who watch Eyewitness News and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, etc., feel about this, and whether you'd participate and in what form.
So - would you participate? Would you have The Conversation with your family? Would you videotape it or allow us to? We need the bold beginners to show the rest of the country the power of a loving family and an honest discussion.
Let me know. Email me at Bill.S.Ritter@ABC.Com. Or respond via Facebook.
Meanwhile, I hope you can join us tonight at 11 on Eyewitness News. We're out on the streets of New York City tonight, as folks who have been the victims of the wild shootings this summer participate in National Night Out, designed to seize control of neighborhoods from thugs.
We're also on Broadway, as New York cops scramble to find a Twitter user who has threatened to kill people at Mike Tyson's one-man show.
And we remember Marvin Hamlisch, the composer of songs for Broadway and the movies, who died today in Los Angeles. The native New Yorker was just 68.
We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Jeff Smith (in for Lee) with his AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Diana Williams (in for Sade) and me, tonight at 11.
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