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Discussing end-of-life issues with your family

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Bunny Cleary, 78, is full of life. But on Thursday over coffee with her daughters the conversation turns to her death. Bunny is not sick. But she knows the importance of planning for when the time comes.

"I think it is always better to tell your children what you want so they will honor it," she said.

Bunny and her husband, John, were married for 50 years. He died four years ago.

"When my husband died we went through a lot," she said. "So I wanted to make sure that everything was taken care of upfront."

Nobody likes talking about it, but death will happen to all of us. To avoid problems for your loved ones after you are gone more and more people are now getting together to discuss their end-of-life wishes.

At the Mamaroneck Senior Center, Jen Graziano of Coxe and Graziano Funeral Home encouraged seniors to talk to their family members.

"We are talking about opening up a dialogue," she said. "Who better than to tell your wishes than you?"

Graziano said that when someone dies there are a lot of decisions to be made.

"So much goes into a three- or four-day period and again you are not making these decisions under the best frame of mind," she said.

And when people are emotional, there can be family tension.

"Just like my father's funeral, there was a little disagreement because she wanted one thing, I preferred another," said Barbara Cleary, Bunny's daughter. "And we worked it out in such a way that everyone of us felt that we contributed to making it a beautiful funeral for him."

That is what bunny is hoping for, too.

"I just want to make it as easy as possible for my children and I don't want them to worry about it," Bunny said.

Experts say this holiday season may be the perfect time to talk to the ones you love about your final wishes and theirs.

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