None of us knows exactly how or when, but we all know that our lives will end someday. How to have the best life to the very end is the idea behind a project co-sponsored by HealthPartners.

The project is called The Convenings. It includes TV segments and community conversations. And it just won one of the highest honors in television.

The idea came from a series of on-air talks that Minnesota Public Radio host Cathy Wurzer had. Starting in 2011, Cathy began interviewing Bruce Kramer, who had been diagnosed with ALS the year before at age 54. Bruce was a professor and dean at the University of St. Thomas. And ALS is a disease that would cause him to slowly lose his ability to move, speak, eat and breathe. Bruce talked to Cathy about how he found joy, beauty and meaning in his life even while living with a serious illness.

Before he died in 2015, Bruce asked Cathy to carry on this work. The Convenings does that by starting conversations with some of the same simple questions that are used in advance care planning, like:

Would I want to be kept alive with a breathing machine?

Who would I want to make decisions about my care if I could not?

Would I want medication even if it put me in a mental fog?

The Convenings is a partnership between HealthPartners, Allina Health, KARE 11, Honoring Choices Minnesota and others. And it won the 2017 Board of Governor’s Emmy. This award recognizes TV projects that advance an important message or mission. In 2014, our Make It OK campaign also won a Board of Governor’s Emmy.

The Convenings has free events coming up in towns and cities all over Minnesota. To make your end-of-live wishes known, download a Health Care Directive.