EOLPodcast

Ep. 309 A Neurosurgeon’s Lessons on Love, Loss, and Compassion with Joseph Stern MD

Learn how his sister’s illness and death made this neurosurgeon a better doctor.

My guest Dr. Joseph Stern is a partner in the country’s largest neurosurgical group practice in Greensboro, North Carolina. While he has frequently worked with patients and families facing life-limiting illness, his experiences at the bedside of his sister during her nearly one-year ordeal with leukemia, changed everything for him. He shares how his own medical practice was affected by what he learned about the patient’s perspective on end-of-life care and how he envisions our medical system needs to shift in order to improve the care being offered to all patients. He is the author of Grief Connects Us: A Neurosurgeon’s Lessons on Love, Loss, and Compassion. Learn more about his work at his website:

www.JosephSternMD.com

Get the book here.

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • The shock Dr. Stern experienced when viewing medical care through the eyes of a terminal patient
  • Why he wished his sister’s doctors had discussed her terminal prognosis with her
  • How to balance hope with reality when facing terminal illness
  • The additional lessons
  • he learned as healthcare proxy for his brother-in-law who suffered a brain aneurysm
  • The definition of “emotional agility” and why it should be taught to all medical students
  • How to improve empathy and communication skills for medical providers
  • Why palliative care should be started much earlier for all patients facing potential life-limiting illness
  • How Dr. Stern has changed his own approach to patients in light of what he has learned
  • How empathy and compassion can actually prevent burnout for medical providers rather than cause it

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 308 Map of Memory Lane: A Grief Book for Children with Francesca Arnoldy

Learn about a new book for children that gently introduces the idea of loss and cherishing our memories.

My guest Francesca Lynn Arnoldy is a community doula and educator who developed the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine’s End-of-LIfe Doula training programs. She is also a bereavement researcher with the Vermont Conversation Lab, and leads workshops about doula approaches and end-of-life wishes. She is the author of Cultivating the Doula Heart: Essentials of Compassionate Care as well as the forthcoming picture book Map of Memory Lane. She discusses the importance of resources for educating children about death and grief from an early age. Learn more about her doula work and her book at these websites:

www.contemplativedoula.com

www.francescalynnarnoldy.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Why Francesca was inspired to write a book about grief for children
  • How children grieve differently from adults
  • Why we need to teach children from a young age about the cycle of life and death and how to approach grief
  • How Francesca handled grief with her own children when their dog died
  • Many adults today are still dealing with issues of unresolved grief from childhood
  • Why we need “healthy preparedness” for the end of life at all ages – the education should begin in childhood
  • How the book is a valuable teaching tool for parents/grandparents/teachers/doulas to use with children
  • Why simple and clear information is preferable for children
  • The importance of grief legacy work and how doulas can help families with this process
  • How Francesca is using crowdfunding through Kickstarter to get the book into print

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu, especially my newest supporters Michael F. Potvin and Jeremy E. Damec! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 307 Life.Death.Whatever: We All Know How This Ends with Anna Lyons and Louise Winter

Learn how an EOL doula and funeral director in the UK have teamed up to creatively shift the conversation around death and dying.

My guests Anna Lyons and Louise Winter are the creative team behind the popular Life.Death.Whatever initiative to redesign the dialogue around death and dying. Anna is an end-of-life doula and Louise is a progressive funeral director in the UK. They share how their partnership has allowed them to address the full spectrum of end-of-life issues from terminal diagnosis to the dying process to after-death care and bereavement–all of which are beautifully covered in their newly released book We All Know How This Ends: Lessons About Life and Living from Working with Death and Dying. Learn more at their website:

www.lifedeathwhatever.com

Follow on Instagram: @lifedeathwhat

Get the book here

Listen here

This episode includes:

  • How Anna and Louise teamed up to create Life.Death.Whatever
  • The inspiration behind writing this book
  • How they developed two projects for public participation: Five Things and Unsaid
  • Why it is important to create links between end-of-life and after-death care
  • Sensitive or “taboo” topics covered in the book like sex during illness and at the end of life and what happens to the body during decomposition and cremation
  • Why they included COVID in their new book and the importance of acknowledging the pandemic when we talk about end-of-life issues
  • How to submit your own writing for Five Things or Unsaid
  • The most surprising things they’ve learned about life through working with death

Eat the gelato – especially if it’s salted caramel.”

from We All Know How this Ends by Anna Lyons and Louise Winter

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Submit your Five Things or Unsaid writing to submissions@lifedeathwhatever.com
  • Sign up for the 2021 online reading group A Year of Reading Dangerously at this link
  • Support your local bookstore by buying my books on Bookshop and Indiebound: 7 Lessons for Living from the Dying and The Journey from Ego to Soul
  • Subscribe to this podcast on AppleGoogleSpotifyiHeart RadioStitcher Radio
  • Check out the Series I’ve recorded in the past here
  • Join the team at Patreon.com/eolu and get access to the EOLU mug“Mind if we talk about death?” (only Patrons can purchase it). PLUS get our new bonuses: the monthly EOL News Update, movie reviews from 2 Doctors and a Movie, and automatic access to A Year of Reading Dangerously!

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 306 Providing Hospice Care for Those Without a Home with Penny Davis

Learn how a retired hospice director turned a failing hospice home into a thriving charitable organization providing housing for homeless people at the end of life.

My guest Penny Davis is a former hospice nurse who went on to get degrees in business, leadership and wellness management. She served as the executive director of a hospice for a number of years and eventually retired, only to be called to her next “mission” – saving a hospice home that provided care for people dealing with homelessness. She shares with us why it’s important to combine business knowledge with a charitable heart in order to create a successful organization to provide end-of-life care. Penny is also the author of the book PJs, Pearls, and Fishing Poles: Life Lessons of Style and Substance. Learn more at her website:

www.pennydavisbooks.com

Get the book here

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Penny brought creativity to her work as a hospice executive director
  • Why it’s helpful for hospice directors to have both business knowledge and hospice clinical experience
  • How Penny became involved with a failing hospice home for people who were experiencing homelessness
  • Why community engagement is essential for the success of a charitable hospice organization
  • The “pitfalls” that can undermine a charitable program and how to overcome them
  • Advice for those who want to start a similar hospice home for people without housing
  • Why it is important for other communities to recognize the end-of-life needs of their homeless population
  • How telling stories can help educate the community about the needs of patients and engage their support
  • How to utilize the stories in Penny’s book to inspire staff, volunteers, trainees and community members

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 305 The Death Dialogues Project: Getting Death Out of the Closet with Becky Aud-Jennison

Learn how Becky created The Death Dialogues Project after a lifetime of experiences with death gradually called her to this work.

My guest Becky Aud-Jennison is the creator and host of The Death Dialogues Project and Podcast, which she created to help bring conversations surrounding death, dying and the aftermath out of the closet. Trained as a nurse and a therapist Becky served as a death doula and home vigilist during the deaths of two of her loved ones, which sparked her passion for facilitating broader conversations. Her love of “verbatim theatre” inspired the original concept for The Death Dialogues Project, which became a podcast over time. She is also the author of two books, forthcoming in 2022: and then the stars spoke: a memoir through the lens of death and Death and Its Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Beautiful Lessons. Learn more at the website:

www.deathdialogues.net

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Becky’s life experiences drew her to work with and talk about death
  • How the video and training from Zen and the Art of Dying helped Becky be present for her loved ones’ deaths and have non-traditional funerals for them
  • How The Vagina Monologues helped inspire The Death Dialogues Project
  • How timing plays a role in the unfolding of our life’s purpose
  • Why the medical profession needs to have greater compassion for people who attempt suicide
  • Why we need to stop “clenching” against death and grief and be more open
  • Grief is different for each person and also for each death that we experience

Death has torn me apart and it’s put me back together again differently.”

Becky Aud-Jennison

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 304 How Men Grieve: The WE GRIEVE Community with Karl Shackelford

Learn how men grieve differently than women and about an online community where men can find support.

My guest Karl Shackelford is a board-certified chaplain who spent many years working with hospice patients. He is also a certified HeartMath® trainer who helps those struggling with the effects of stress, anxiety and adversity to build resilience. Karl is the founder of We Grieve, which is an online community where grieving people come together to heal. Today he’ll share how he created that community and why he went on to start a grief group specifically for men. Learn more at the website:

www.wegrieve.net

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How COVID became a catalyst for the formation of the online We Grieve community
  • Why Karl decided to start a grief group for guys
  • How men grieve differently than women
  • How our society has shamed men for their emotions and failed to support them in their grief
  • Why men benefit from a men-only grief group
  • How HeartMath® tools help people who are grieving
  • A simple HeartMath® exercise to use in the moment
  • Weekly free grief workshops offered online by We Grieve
  • How to “gift” a membership in We Grieve to someone who is grieving
  • How to become a facilitator for We Grieve

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 303 Anam Cara: Soul Companion for the Dying with Judy Hilyard

Learn how a “soul companion” for the dying helps ease the fear of death.

My guest Judy Hilyard worked as an ICU nurse during her 47-year career and now serves as an Anam Cara, or “soul friend” to the dying. In addition she also fulfills the role of an Anam Aira by accompanying people through the process of death to “the other side of the Veil.” She shares her experiences and how this work helps free people from the fear of death and resolve their spiritual pain. Judy is the author of Soul Companion: A Memoir which chronicles her training and work on both sides of the veil. Learn more about her work at her website:

www.anamcaracompanion.com

Get the book here.

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Judy became an Anam Cara/Aira
  • What is the difference between an Anam Cara and an Anam Aira
  • The 4 Spiritual Pains of the dying according to Richard Groves
  • How Judy developed her skill in accompanying the dying
  • How a soul companion can help ease the fear of death
  • How Judy’s experiences showed her there is no hell
  • How this work has changed the way Judy lives her life
  • What to do if you feel inspired to become an Anam Cara

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 302 Life Centered Therapy for Trauma, Grief and Dying with Andrew Hahn PsyD

Learn new tools for dealing with the pain of trauma, loss and grief through an innovative therapy process.

My guest Andrew Hahn is a psychologist who has long sought to help people live more contented and healthier lives by blending Eastern and alternative philosophies with his traditional training. He developed Life Centered Therapy based on research on violence and loss trauma, kinesiology, and energy psychology in addition to Buddhist and Eastern psychology. He shares how he works with people dealing with trauma, grief and the dying process. Learn more at his website:

www.lifecenteredtherapy.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What is Life Centered Therapy (LCT)
  • Trauma is basically something that happens in life that can’t be handled
  • Healing is to help others master what they haven’t been able to handle in the past
  • Why medications alone are not sufficient for helping people heal trauma
  • How LCT differs from traditional psychotherapy
  • How physical symptoms can be clues to something deeper going on
  • How muscle testing (kinesiology) is a communication method for the soul
  • Why allowing ourselves to grieve is the way out of suffering
  • We need to feel the pain itself rather than feeling pain about the pain
  • The core experience of loss is inner emptiness
  • We have to grow to certain stages of development before we can fully handle the traumas of life
  • Why we shouldn’t deny our traumatic experiences but also shouldn’t identify with them – we simply have to be with our emotions about them

Life is trying to evolve through us by creating more love … and we’re trying to evolve by realizing who we really are, which is unity.

Andrew Hahn PsyD

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 301 Grief Dreams and What We Learn From Them with Dr. Joshua Black

Learn how dreams can be a powerful source of healing during grief.

My guest Dr. Joshua Black is considered one of the world’s leading academic experts on grief dreams. He is on a mission to raise awareness about the prevalence of impactful dreams during grief and why we should pay attention to them. In this conversation he shares how he got interested in this research and what he’s learned that can benefit all of us. Learn more about his work and podcast at his website:

www.griefdreams.ca

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • The common forms of grief dreams
  • Who is likely to have a grief dream and how common they are
  • How people benefit from having grief dreams
  • How dreams evolve as the grief process progresses
  • The effect of the pandemic on grief dreams
  • How to increase the likelihood of remembering a grief dream
  • Unanswered questions about grief dreams
  • The Grief Dreams Podcast and online course

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 300 Training EOL Educators to Change the World with Michelle Pante and Reena Lazar

Learn why and how to become an EOL Educator through a new program offered by WillowEOL.

My guests Michelle Pante and Reena Lazar are co-founders of Willow End of Life Education and Planning and co-authors of 7 Tools for Making Sense of Life & Death, the workbook and the self-study online program. They have also created the Willow EOL Educator™ Program, which we discuss in this interview. They share the importance of providing education to both the public and healthcare providers in order to change the way we manage the end of life and to find the greatest meaning in life. They are offering a $200 discount to their EOL Educator™ Program for listeners who sign up before the end of May 2021. Learn more and sign up with the coupon code EOLU200 at this link:

educators.willoweol.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How COVID accelerated the development of the EOL Educators Program
  • Why EOL education is so important right now
  • What inspired Michelle and Reena to create this program
  • Who can benefit from becoming a Willow EOL Educator
  • What the program includes
  • How participants can tailor their own workshops using Willow’s materials
  • How this program augments other training programs and does not compete or preclude any other system

To change the world we need a global network of heart-centred, end-of-life educators.”

Reena Lazar and Michelle Pante

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 299 Embodied Grieving for Ancestral Trauma and Loss with Oceana Sawyer

Learn some tools for experiencing grief in the physical body and moving it through to promote healing of ancestral trauma.

My guest Oceana Sawyer is a death doula and funeral celebrant who utilizes earth-based spirituality, expressive arts and integral counseling psychology in her work. She teaches about the need to feel our emotions in the physical body in order to get “unstuck” from grief and how grief can be a portal for healing our own trauma from the past and that of our ancestors. Through her own life experiences as a Black woman she has explored the pain of racialized trauma in our society and how it effects all of us regardless of our own skin color. Learn more about Oceana’s work at her website:

www.oceanaendoflifedoula.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Oceana was called to work with death, dying and grief through her father’s death
  • Why grief needs to be experienced and expressed through the physical body
  • Ways to practice embodied grieving
    • Breath work
    • Body work
    • Yoga
    • Hiking
    • Running
    • Dancing
    • Laughter
  • How grief can be a great opening for self-exploration and healing to occur
  • Why everyone in our society needs to do grief work right now
  • Why “if you don’t transform your pain you will transmit it”
  • How the pandemic and the racial violence in our society have led to massive unresolved grief
  • Oceana’s own exploration of healing racial trauma in the physical body
  • Your body already knows how to heal itself
  • Grieving is the first step of forgiveness

The capacity to move through big emotions is our capacity to grow … it’s how you’re going to become a full human being.”

Oceana Sawyer

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu, especially my newest supporter Suzanna Brown and thank you Sandy Jane Stacy for increasing your pledge! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast, Grief, Spirituality

Ep. 298 Loss Without Sadness: Another View of Grief with Jennifer Mathews

Learn how for some of us it’s possible to experience grief without being sad and why that’s okay.

My guest Jennifer Mathews is a founding member of the Ashland Death Cafe and the Living/Dying Alliance of Southern Oregon. She is on a mission to shift cultural messages that hold us back from joy and to help us rethink grief and how we respond to death. She shares with us why we need to prepare for loss by developing tools that allow us to cope better. Based on her popular TEDxTalk “Death is Inevitable – Grief is Not” she also proposes the controversial idea that grief doesn’t have to be sad and it’s okay for each of us to have our own unique experience after the death of someone close to us. Learn more about her work at her website:

www.JenniferMathews.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What motivated Jennifer to rethink grief in her own life
  • How the language of grief can impact our expectations and experiences of grief
  • How some of our current models of grief may actually shame people who grieve differently for not being “sad enough”
  • There are many ways to respond to death and grief is just one of them
  • Adjusting to the loss of a loved one’s physical presence is not the same as grief
  • Why love does not always equal grief
  • Tools we can develop before a loss occurs to help us when we do encounter loss

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu, especially my newest supporter Judith Hillyard! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast, Grief

Special Episode: Vigil to Honor and Grieve Our Mothers

On the ninth of each month we have been called to hold space in our communities on life, death and transformation by ObservetheNinth.org. Today’s vigil will help us grieve the deaths of our own mothers on this Mother’s Day. May it bring you peace and comfort.

Vigil to Honor and Grieve Our Mothers
“MOTHER”  by NIKITA GILL
 
The water of her womb, your first home.
The body she pulled apart to welcome you to the world.
The spirit in you she helped grow with all she knew.
The heart that she gave you when yours fell apart.
You are her soft miracle. 
So she gave you her eyes to see the best in the worst.
You carry your mother in your eyes.
Make her proud of all she watches you do.
EOLPodcast

Ep. 297 Compassion 101: Why We Are Failing and How To Do Better

Learn how to increase your own capacity for compassion toward yourself and others and make the world a better place in the process.

In this episode I share some of the research and articles I’ve been reading in the book Compassion: Bridging Practice and Science, edited by Tania Singer and Matthias Bolz. It seems to be that we are in need of greater compassion as a society right now to help us cope with our current adversities and grow stronger in love and kindness in the process. I have some poems and practices to share that hopefully will inspire all of us to higher consciousness. View Tania Singer’s website:

www.taniasinger.de

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Why we need more compassion in our society right now
  • 5 reasons why we are “failing” at compassion
  • The difference between empathy and compassion according to researchers
  • Why overdoing empathy can lead to burnout while practicing compassion can prevent it
  • The positive benefits of compassion practices
  • How and why to begin practicing self-compassion
  • The difference between self-compassion and self-esteem
  • Study results on using the Lovingkindness Meditation (Metta) as a regular practice
  • Mantras to use for self-compassion and Lovingkindness

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu, especially my newest supporters Stefanie Elkins and Claire Murphy Jones! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 296 NDE’s and After Death Communication in Hospice Work with Scott Janssen

Learn why and how to support patients who have transpersonal experiences at the end of life.

My guest Scott Janssen has been a hospice clinical social worker for almost 30 years. During that time he has been gathering the stories and reports of hundreds of hospice patients who have had transpersonal experiences as death approached. He shares some of these stories, describes the various phenomena that can occur near death, and explores the benefits they offer to experiencers and their loved ones. We discuss how healthcare providers can do a better job supporting and listening to patients with these end-of-life transpersonal experiences. Learn more about Scott’s writing at his website:

www.jscottjanssen.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Scott first became aware of transpersonal experiences at the end of life
  • Types of phenomena that occur as death approaches
  • Why we need to open our minds to these experiences
  • How these experiences differ from hallucinations caused by illness or medications
  • Positive benefits of transpersonal experiences at the end of life
    • Decreased fear of death
    • Healing of grief
    • Decreased depression and anxiety
    • Sense of peace
    • Increased focused on the present moment
    • Greater appreciation for relationships in their life
    • Greater spiritual awareness
  • How to be supportive of patients’ stories even if you don’t belief in transpersonal events
    • Learn about these phenomena and research that has been done
    • Be aware of your biases and don’t force your beliefs on patients
    • Avoid negative labels and judgements
  • How teaching stories can normalize patients’ experiences and encourage conversation
  • How patients can transform at the end of life and why transpersonal events are helpful

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Episode 261 on NDE’s with Lilia Samoilo and Heidi Walsh
  • Scott’s article in GeriPal on NDE’s and After Death Communication
  • International Association for Near Death Studies website
  • IANDS Spring Symposium: Providing Care for Those Touched by Near-Death and Related Experiences: Ethical Best Practices – April 30th
  • Book: Standing at Lemhi Pass: Archetypal Stories for the End of Life and Other Challenging Times by Scott Janssen
  • Sign up for the 2021 online reading group A Year of Reading Dangerously at this link
  • Support your local bookstore by buying my books on Bookshop and Indiebound: 7 Lessons for Living from the Dying and The Journey from Ego to Soul
  • Subscribe to this podcast on AppleGoogleSpotifyiHeart RadioStitcher Radio
  • Check out the Series I’ve recorded in the past here
  • Join the team at Patreon.com/eolu and get access to the EOLU mug“Mind if we talk about death?” (only Patrons can purchase it). PLUS get our new bonuses: the monthly EOL News Update, movie reviews from 2 Doctors and a Movie, and automatic access to A Year of Reading Dangerously!

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu, especially my newest supporters Dianne Feltham and Karine Ferro! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 295 Psilocybin Therapy at End of Life: The Legal Case with Kathryn Tucker, JD

Learn about the legal effort to make psilocybin available as a transformative therapy at the end of life.

My guest Kathryn Tucker is a Special Counsel at Emerge Law Group where she co-chairs the Psychedelic Practice Group. She is also the Executive Director of the End-of-Life Liberty Project and served two decades as Director of Advocacy and Legal Affairs for Compassion & Choices, working to improve care and expand choice at the end of life. She shares the current legal case she is spearheading to allow terminally ill patients to try psilocybin as a palliative care medication and how psilocybin has already been shown to be hugely beneficial to patients at the end of life. Learn more about her work at:

www.emergelawgroup.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • The benefits of psilocybin therapy for palliative care
  • Why terminally ill patients cannot currently access psilocybin therapy
  • What are Right to Try (RTT) laws and how they may apply to psilocybin
  • History behind psilocybin being labeled a Schedule I drug by the DEA
  • Test case that has been filed in court based on Washington state and Federal RTT laws
  • How “friends of the court” can be helpful to this case
  • Why the success of this case could open access for patients in other states
  • Oregon’s Psilocybin Therapy Law and implications for other states

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 294 Virtual Funerals and Memorials: How and Why to Hold Them with Merilynne Rush

Learn best practices for creating a meaningful and powerful funeral or memorial service online.

My guest Merilynne Rush is an EOL Doula Mentor, Home Funeral Guide, Green Burial Educator, Advance Care Planning Facilitator, Death Cafe host, former hospice nurse, and former home birth midwife. Today she shares her personal experience planning and hosting a virtual memorial service for her father, including all of the challenges and benefits of taking on such a task. She offers helpful advice to anyone who feels called to plan a virtual ceremony and explains why this new way of being together after a loved one dies is likely here to stay. Learn more about her work at her website:

www.thedyingyear.org

Read her blog post on Virtual Memorials here

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • The importance of funeral and memorial rituals and why they should happen sooner rather than later after a death
  • Why a virtual ceremony can be just as effective as in-person
  • Why good planning and organization is essential for conducting an online event
  • Getting outside help from a tech assistant and an “MC” to manage the flow of the ceremony
  • Creating an effective “script” for the event
  • Why breakout rooms are helpful at the end of the ceremony
  • Tips for creating a slide show to use during the event
  • How virtual gatherings can “carry all the love” we want to share and help with our grief
  • Why virtual funerals and memorials are likely to continue even after the pandemic

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu, especially my newest supporter Heather Capuano! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Special Episode: Vigil for Coping with Change

On the ninth of each month we have been called to hold space in our communities on life, death and transformation by ObservetheNinth.org. Today’s vigil will hold space for coping with all of the overwhelming changes that have crushed us this past year. May it bring you peace and comfort.

Vigil for Coping with Change
Poem: by Ginny Yurich

From the trees I learned
That growth isn’t orderly.
Under the surface
Roots thrust out in ways
That are chaotic and untidy,
But they produce the solid foundation 
For a lifetime of growth.
 
From the chick,
The butterfly and the frog,
I learned that change is possible,
Even the kind of change
That renders us unrecognizable.
 
And from the garden I learned
That at the end of harvest
When all looks bleak, even dead,
There remains an undercurrent
Of new possibilities.
We can look a little deeper and find
There are always things that thrive 
Even in the harshest of conditions. 
EOLPodcast

Ep. 293 When Your Aging Parent Needs Help: A Step by Step Guide with Leslie Kernisan MD

Learn about a helpful guidebook for people caring for elderly parents that addresses all the major challenges.

My guest Dr. Leslie Kernisan is a practicing geriatrician and the founder of the popular aging health website and podcast Better Health While Aging. She recently published the book When Your Aging Parent Needs Help to answer the many questions she has received from people struggling to care for their elderly parents. She shares many of the helpful tools and resources included in the book for dealing with our most pressing issues when we become involved in providing care to our older loved ones. Learn more at her website:

www.betterhealthwhileaging.net

Get the book here

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Why good communication skills are important in caring for our parents
  • How to approach a challenging subject (e.g. the COVID vaccine) with reluctant elders
  • Remembering to respect what matters to our elders (your goals vs your parents’ goals)
  • What to say when the conversation hasn’t gone well
  • How to negotiate doctor visits with your parents: what to bring, what to ask
  • Self-care tips for caregivers feeling the strain of dealing with parents
  • When to let go and accept things as they are instead of trying to be perfect caregivers
  • What to do if parents become paranoid and blame you for things
  • Steps and tips to slow brain health decline due to Alzheimer’s

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 292 Life Review: The Hospice Musical – Life, Love and Loss with Benjamin Kintisch

Learn about a touching and humorous new musical that focuses on the stories of hospice patients and how you can join the audience.

My guest Benjamin Kintisch is a Cantor, hospice chaplain, and music teacher when he’s not performing on stage. He has loved singing and performing since childhood and has had used his skills to create a musical inspired by his experiences with hospice patients. He shares his creative process in writing Life Review: The Hospice Musical and performs two songs from the musical to give us a preview! Learn more at the website:

www.lifereviewmusical.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How a hospice chaplain became inspired to write a musical
  • The power of both stories and music to open the heart
  • Why music ends up being a good format for telling the stories of hospice patients
  • An overview of Life Review: The Hospice Musical
  • How Ben recognized that the musical needed to contain lightness and humor
  • Coping with the reality that ultimately we can’t fix people
  • Ben’s experiences “workshopping” the musical
  • Feedback from cast members and audiences
  • How Life Review can be used for education and discussion purposes
  • Goals for the musical currently and post-COVID

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • SAVE THE DATE for the upcoming Virtual Cabaret Show of Life Review: The Hospice Musical with Ben Kintisch on Sunday April 25, 2021 at 4 pm Pacific/7 pm Eastern
  • Listen to the unedited interview on YouTube: https://youtu.be/lvLuVXliqlU
  • Sign up for the 2021 online reading group A Year of Reading Dangerously at this link
  • Support your local bookstore by buying my books on Bookshop and Indiebound: 7 Lessons for Living from the Dying and The Journey from Ego to Soul
  • Subscribe to this podcast on AppleGoogleSpotifyiHeart RadioStitcher Radio
  • Check out the Series I’ve recorded in the past here
  • Join the team at Patreon.com/eolu and get access to the EOLU mug“Mind if we talk about death?” (only Patrons can purchase it). PLUS get our new bonuses: the monthly EOL News Update, movie reviews from 2 Doctors and a Movie, and automatic access to A Year of Reading Dangerously!

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu, especially my newest supporter Trina Wacasey and Suzanne O’Brien for upping your pledge! Your contributions make all the difference!