EOLPodcast

Ep. 353 The Rebellious Widow: Love and Life After Loss with Jill Johnson-Young

Learn practical tips for navigating the caregiving journey and grief after the death of a spouse.

My guest Jill Johnson-Young is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked in hospice and as a therapist specializing in grief, loss, dementia, and trauma. She shares her personal journey as a caregiver for two spouses and as a “double widow” along with helpful tips for grief and how to break the “widow rules.” She is the author of numerous books about grief for adults and children including her most recent The Rebellious Widow: A Practical Guide to Love and Life After Loss. Learn more at her websites:

www.therebelliouswidow.com

www.jilljohnsonyoung.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • The “widow rules” and why they need to be challenged
  • How society judges grievers rather than allowing them to take their own unique path
  • How anticipatory grief helped with her process of grief after death
  • The importance of fostering intimacy for couples who are facing death (making “body memories”)
  • How medical and hospice providers often overlook the needs of the caregiver
  • What to say to couples dealing with a terminal illness
  • Why couples should discuss the caregiver’s future after death
  • Setting boundaries and asking for help as a caregiver
  • How she found “helpers” to connect with her children and watch over them during the dying process and funeral
  • The jarring moment when a diagnosis is received for both patient and caregiver
  • Challenges facing same-sex couples as they access care
  • Humor as self-preservation for medical staff and caregivers

Links mentioned in this episode:

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Donate on Paypal

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 patrons Janis Wiebking and Robin Blanche! Also thank you to Francis Pope Hewitt for your Paypal donation! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 352 Cross-Cultural End-of-Life Practices with Gary Wederspahn

Learn about fascinating end-of-life rituals from cultures around the world.

My guest Gary Wederspahn is a board member of the Final Exit Network and the author of a book and many articles on cross-cultural communications and relations. He has served as a Peace Corps Director in Guatemala, Costa Rica and Ecuador and has traveled in over 20 countries. He shares his passion for studying end-of-life rituals and traditions wherever he has traveled, including slides from many different countries. Learn more at these websites:

www.finalexitnetwork.org

www.thegooddeathsocietyblog.net

Watch on YouTube

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What is appreciative inquiry and how it facilitates conversations
  • Why studying end-of-life traditions introduces you to the values and deep culture of societies
  • How end-of-life care has been outsourced here in the U.S. to our detriment
  • Mayan traditions around death in Guatemala during Dia de los Muertos
  • Three-part community cremation rituals in Bali
  • The “thin veil” between the living and the dead that is perceived in many cultures
  • How “continuing bonds” with ancestors help strengthen the family
  • The use of cremated ashes to make burial beads in Korea
  • How Vietnamese funeral processions resemble funeral parades in New Orleans
  • Ceremonial kites flown in Guatemala city to honor their ancestors during Dia de los Muertos
  • Zoroastrian custom of leaving corpses in “Towers of Silence” for vultures to consume
  • Ifugao people in high country of Philippines keep bodies of their ancestors in rafters of the house and bring them out during special events
  • “Bone collecting” ritual after cremation in Japan
  • Igorot hanging coffins in the Philippines
  • Tibetan sky burial also depends on vultures; Sioux burial platforms similarly rely on ravens to consume the body
  • How Gary’s exposure to the rituals of other countries has informed his own decisions for the end of life

Links mentioned in this episode:

Buy me a coffee

Donate on Paypal

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 patron Erinn Gregory! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 350 Meeting the End-of-Life Needs of Your Community with Elizabeth Johnson and Erin Collins RN

Learn how this non-profit organization is working to solve gaps in end-of-life care in their community.

My guests Elizabeth Johnson and Erin Collins are the founders and creators of the non-profit Peaceful Presence Project with a mission of helping communities live well, age well and die well by reimagining the way we talk about, plan for and experience the last stage of life. They have created Endnotes, a roadmap for end-of-life planning an will discuss the genesis of their organization and how they take a community-based approach in their work by meeting the gaps that exist in end-of-life care. Learn more at their website:

www.the peacefulpresenceproject.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Elizabeth and Erin were inspired to start this organization
  • The Compassionate Communities model of care that informs their work
  • The importance of integrating palliative care into daily life
  • How to reclaim deathcare as a social event with a medical component
  • Surveying the community for strengths and weaknesses around end-of-life issues to determine areas of need
  • Thoughts on improving the medical model to move from a curative focus to a healing focus by increasing education around palliative and end-of-life care
  • Reasons why our advance care planning has not been “successful” so far
  • High quality conversations about EOL choices are essential and they should start outside of healthcare first
  • Why advance care planning is important for those experiencing homelessness
  • The needs for increased access to palliative care in rural communities
  • Exploring who is too poor to die well

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. 343 When My Time Comes: Conversations About Medical Aid in Dying with Diane Rehm

Hear award-winning journalist Diane Rehm discuss what she learned about Medical Aid in Dying through conversations with people both for and against these laws.

My special guest Diane Rehm was the host of The Diane Rehm Show on WAMU and NPR for nearly 40 years with a weekly on-air audience of more than 2.8 million people. She is the author of 5 best-selling autobiographical book including her latest When My Time Comes: Conversations About Whether Those Who Are Dying Should Have the Right to Determine When Life Should End. She shares her experiences traveling the country and interviewing people about medical aid in dying for the book and the documentary film by the same name. Learn more at these websites:

www.dianerehm.org

www.whenmytimecomesmovie.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Diane’s journey with her husband John at the end of his life
  • Why Diane was inspired to create the documentary (and later the book) When My Time Comes
  • How memories of Dr. Kevorkian may still create fear and negativity around this subject
  • Lack of joy in life is a more common reason for choosing MAID than physical pain
  • Why choosing MAID is different than suicide
  • Current facts about Medical Aid in Dying laws in the U.S.
  • Common arguments against these laws from religious and disability communities
  • Safeguards built into these laws to prevent abuse and coercion
  • Patients with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are not eligible for MAID
  • This option is not equally available to all groups of people across the country for multiple reasons
  • How Brittany Maynard’s story galvanized this movement
  • The goal is to allow choice for people at the end of life

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 patrons Erica Sanchez and Kelly Bean! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 338 Ask Doctor Death: Tough Questions About Tough Topics with Terri Daniel and Karen Wyatt

Learn how Terri Daniel and I used our experiences with loss and grief to motivate the work we do today.

In this episode I’m featuring a conversation I had with the Rev. Dr. Terri Daniel on the Ask Doctor Death Podcast, of which I am an occasional co-host. Terri is the creator of the former Afterlife Awareness Conference and now the Conference on Death, Grief and Belief, which will be held July 2022 in Portland OR. We share a wide-ranging discussion that includes our own personal stories and our spiritual journeys, which have brought us where we are today. Learn more about Terri and the conference:

http://www.danieldirect.net

http://www.deathgriefandbelief.com

Download transcript here

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • The grief experiences that brought each of us to do work focused on end-of-life issues
  • What it means to us to be spiritual but not religious
  • How we each have found meaning in suffering and grief (and why we wish everyone could)
  • How toxic theology can harm people at the end of life or during grief
  • What we disagree with about some contemporary advice given to those who are grieving (especially on social media)

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 new patrons Monica Kaniewska and Katharina Mack! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLU Blog

Don’t Focus on Regrets at the End of Life

Why it’s not helpful to ask dying people what they regret about their lives and what to do instead.

“Don’t waste your time in anger, regrets, worries, and grudges. Life is too short to be unhappy.” 

Roy T. Bennett

For some reason there’s been a buzz in the last few years about finding out what people on their deathbeds regret most about their lives. We hear this often: “they regret what they didn’t do more than things they did.” That’s fine to say and tends to be good advice for those of us who aren’t facing our last days. We can learn from their mistakes and pledge to live our own lives differently from now on.

In fact, research on regret as an emotional state has shown that it may be helpful for young people as a reminder to reconsider their current path and make better choices for the future. But when regret occurs in situations where there is no chance to change the current circumstances or make things better, it can cause chronic stress and do both physical and emotional harm. Individuals who feel they have no path forward can experience guilt, self-blame, disappointment and depression as a result of spending their time focusing on their regrets.

Regret sells

However as a society we are drawn to learning about the regrets of other people because we fear making mistakes or missing out on opportunities. We are eager to benefit from someone else’s suffering if it means we can avoid the same path for ourselves. Advertisers rely on our fears by using regret as a motivator to sell products, such as “this person didn’t buy from us and paid more money for worse service.” We don’t want to be the foolish person who regrets their choice so we pay attention to messages like that and we buy products, books and courses that teach us how to avoid these costly mistakes.

Not helpful at the end

There’s nothing really wrong with this tactic except when it applies to people who are nearing the end of life. Because they may not have time to repair the past or forge a new direction in the future, they have no opportunity to truly learn from their regrets. Placing their attention on the mistakes of their lives may lead them to despair and a feeling of worthlessness as they prepare for the end, especially if you are unable to guide them beyond their self-blame.

Do this instead

Instead of asking “what regrets do you have from the past” we would be better advised to ask “what are you grateful for in your life” or even “are there things left undone that you would still like to address.” If the person wants to talk about regrets it’s fine to go there, but it’s not helpful to introduce the topic to them if they’re not already thinking about it. Viewing life as a series of mistakes or regretful events is painful and creates a spiral of negativity. But we can help people avoid that downward spiral and lessen their distress by asking better questions.

Listen and find meaning

People at the end of life generally benefit greatly from doing a life review and being able to tell their stories in a safe setting. The art of being a good listener includes helping them find meaning, connection and resolution through their own stories without judgment or shame. To truly help a person find peace at the end of life focus on forgiveness, gratitude for what life has offered, self-compassion and letting go of self-blame. But don’t ask about regrets unless you know you can lead them out of that dark place to a higher, more healing perspective.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 336 Better Place Forests: Reimagining Cemeteries with Sandy Gibson

Learn why forests are the cemeteries of the future.

My guest Sandy Gibson is the co-founder and CEO of Better Place Forests, a sustainable alternative to traditional cemeteries for families who choose cremation. Sandy founded several companies and worked in finance and software before founding Better Place Forests. He shares how experiencing significant loss early in his life helped inspire him decide to reimagine cemeteries and make them good for the entire world. You’ll learn how you can find “your tree” and plan ahead for a sustainable, earth-friendly disposition after you die. Learn more about Better Place Forests at the website:

www.betterplaceforests.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How the idea for Better Place Forests came about.
  • Why it is important to reimagine cemeteries right now.
  • How Better Place Forests are intended to be places for families and communities to come together.
  • How the service works for those “at need” or those choosing a tree in advance.
  • What a “spreading ceremony” consists of
  • The importance of rituals at the end of life
  • Where Better Place Forests are located and may expand in the future
  • How Better Place is planting trees to offset the carbon footprint of fire cremation
  • Advice for people experiencing loss and grief at this time

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 new patrons Louise O’Brien and Daraleen C. Shales! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 333 Swedish “Death Cleaning”: The Perfect Way to Begin a New Year with Karen Wyatt

Learn how the practice of “death cleaning” can simplify your life and help you prepare for the end of life.

In this first solo episode of 2022 I share what I’ve been learning about the Swedish practice of döstädning, which translates as “death cleaning.” This idea was first shared by Margareta Magnusson in her book “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter.” She describes the Swedish custom of sorting through and downsizing material possessions in later life in order to lessen the burden your loved ones will experience after you die. I’m adopting this custom this year as part of my new perspective for this New Year and I think it’s something we could be teaching our patients and clients along with educating them about advance directives. Take a listen and see what you think! Let me know if you have done death cleaning in the past or are planning to start now.

Get Margareta Magnusson’s book

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Why “death cleaning” is actually minimalism for seniors
  • How this practice can benefit us in our daily lives
  • The realization that material objects only have the value we invest in them while we are alive
  • The impermanence of every single possession we own
  • Tips for “death cleaning”
  • How to declutter your digital assets as well as your living space
  • Why you should create a grief ritual as you declutter to help you release the energy contained in your possessions

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 new patrons Sue Skeates and Lucy Karl; and thank you Diane Button for increasing your annual pledge! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 330 The Legacy of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross with Ken Ross

Learn about the paradigm-shifting work of Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross and how her son carries on her legacy through the EKR Foundation.

My guest Ken Ross, son of Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, is the founder and current president of the EKR Foundation. He discusses the foundation’s mission, which is to enhance compassionate care for the seriously ill and dying, as well as his mother’s important work and legacy. We talk about Elisabeth’s life and pivotal moments that influenced her to focus on death and dying, as well as the resistance she met during her lifetime and the criticisms of her work that continue to this day. Learn more about the EKR Foundation at this website:

www.ekrfoundation.org

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What is was like for Ken growing up in the midst of his mother’s groundbreaking work
  • How Elisabeth was inspired to focus on death and dying as a medical doctor
  • The many challenges and controversies Elisabeth faced throughout her life
  • Elisabeth’s book On Death and Dying (published in 1969) and how she conceived of the stages she observed in her work with terminal patients
  • The criticisms of the 5 stages model and why they represent a misunderstanding of Elisabeth’s original intention
  • How Ken supports his mother’s legacy through the global work of the EKR Foundation
  • Upcoming classes being planned by the foundation
  • Elisabeth’s final journey as a patient needing care from others
  • Lessons Ken learned as a caregiver
  • How Elisabeth’s personal interest in mysticism and the afterlife helped her at the end of her life

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. 329 Shared Death Experiences: How They Transform Dying and Living with William Peters

Learn about shared death experiences and how they can lessen the fear of death and help with grief.

My guest William Peters is the founder of the Shared Crossing Project and is recognized by many as the world’s leading authority on the shared death experience (SDE). He discusses SDEs and what he has learned through his research, including how these experiences benefit those who have them. He is the author of the book At Heaven’s Door: What Shared Journeys to the Afterlife Teach About Dying Well and Living Better, which will be published by Simon & Schuster in early 2022 and we talk about it in this conversation. Learn more about William’s work at his website:

www.sharedcrossing.com

Order the book here

OR Find an independent bookseller near you

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What is a shared death experience
  • What happens during a shared death experience
  • Who is likely to have an SDE
  • What is the Spectrum of End-of-Life Experiences
  • How do SDEs benefit those who have them
  • Are SDEs becoming more accepted in our society
  • The ongoing research being conducted by the Shared Crossing Project
  • Advice for those who may have experienced an SDE without understanding it
  • How to increase the likelihood of having a shared death experience
  • How to submit your story to the Shared Crossing Project if you feel you have had an SDE

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Book: The Art of Dying by Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick
  • Research Article: American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care

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 new patron Jennifer Blalock! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 328 Sacred Death Care and the Deathwalker Archetype with Sarah Kerr PhD

Learn how to tell if you’ve been called to be a “deathwalker” and how to offer sacred care to others at the end of life.

My guest Sarah Kerr has been a death doula, ritual healing practitioner, and trainer since 2012. She draws on nature-based spirituality, sacred sciences, and the richness of the human soul in her work and she is the founder of The Centre for Sacred Deathcare. She discusses the “deathwalker archetype,” how many people are being called right now to do this work, and the courses she offers to help us create more complete maps for dying, death and bereavement. Learn more about Sarah’s work at her websites:

Education and training: www.sacreddeathcare.com

Death doula services: www.soulpassages.ca

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Sarah was drawn to the work she does as a death doula, ritual practitioner and trainer
  • Why social healing requires getting accustomed to endings and death
  • How death care helps us merge our knowledge of science and spirituality
  • How The Centre for Sacred Deathcare got started
  • Challenges and blessings that have arisen from COVID
  • Simple, personal rituals for being present during difficult times
  • What is the “Deathwalker Archetype” and how to know if it is active in your psyche
  • How Western medicine leaves out the Soul when dealing with health issues
  • Why we need new maps for dying, death and bereavement
  • The 3 maps of The Soul’s Journey Course Sarah teaches
  • Why Deathwalkers need to be in community with one another

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 new patron Lelia Ball! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 323 Self-Care Tools for 2021 and Why We Need Them Now with Suzanne O’Brien RN

Learn why self-care and love are essential tools to master right now as we navigate these days of grief, transformation and healing.

My guest Suzanne O’Brien is a hospice and wellness nurse, international speaker, and bestselling author. She the founder and creator of The International Doulagivers® Institute and the Doulagivers® Life Class and Wellness Membership. She has traveled the world educating and helping build training programs to support community-based end-of-life care globally. She shares the tools she teaches for self-care during difficult times and why it’s so important to love ourselves. We’ll also learn about a new initiative launching November 1st to train 1 million people around the world to care for people at the end of life and to live their own best lives. Learn more at the website:

https://www.doulagivers.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How the pandemic has shifted our energies these past 2 years
  • How Suzanne’s Life Café met the needs of her community during lockdown and continues to reach people from around the world
  • Why we especially need to tend to our own physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs right now
  • Why stillness is important as we connect with our inner selves
  • True self-care requires self-love
  • A morning practice for self-awareness and care
  • Changing our inner world to be more loving will change how we perceive the world outside of us
  • The One Million People Trained Campaign

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. 317 It’s Your Funeral! A “Fun” Guide to Planning for the End with Kathy Benjamin

Learn about a helpful and humorous workbook for funeral planning.

My guest Kathy Benjamin is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on various sites including Uproxx, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket, and Cracked.com. She is the author Funerals to Die For and the recently released It’s Your Funeral: Plan the Celebration of a Lifetime Before it’s Too Late. She shares how she got interested in writing about funerals and some of the fascinating facts she’s learned over time about the importance of funerals throughout history and across all societies. We also discuss her set-by-step guide to creating a great funeral. Connect with Kathy at her website:

www.KathyBenjamin.com

Get It’s Your Funeral here.

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Kathy got inspired to write two books about funerals
  • How she did research for the topics in the book
  • Why funerals are important and how it helps to plan one in advance
  • Some of the components of a good funeral to consider in your planning:
    • Venue
    • Funeral roles
    • Theme
    • Eulogy
    • Burial options
  • Interesting funeral traditions from around the world
  • Challenges for funeral planning during the pandemic
  • Why It’s Your Funeral could be a good humorous gift for a milestone birthday
  • How to use the book to get started on planning your funeral now

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Follow Kathy on social media:
    • Facebook: facebook.com/kab18
    • Twitter: @KathyBenjamin

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. 316 “Deep Dive” Part 2: COVID, Self-Care and Meeting People Where They Are with Deanna Cochran RN

Learn why being present and quiet can be the best way to help people at the end of life.

Deanna Cochran, hospice nurse, EOL doula, and founder of the CareDoula® School of Accompanying the Dying returns in this episode for Part 2 of our “deep dive” conversation (check out Part 1 here.) We talk about the impact of COVID on end-of-life work and how it has brought to our awareness the inequities that exist in our society and in healthcare. Caring for ourselves is another important topic of our discussion and Deanna shares how she stays sane while doing incredibly stressful work. Learn more at Deanna’s website:

www.certifiedcaredoula.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • The lessons learned from dealing with COVID
  • Why a commitment to self-care is necessary for end-of-life workers
  • The practices Deanna relies upon to maintain physical, emotional and spiritual health while doing this work
  • Choosing language around death and dying that people are comfortable with
  • Allowing awareness of death to unfold for other people on their own time frame
  • Why being quiet and saying nothing is sometimes the most helpful thing we can do
  • The blessing of beginner’s mind vs the challenge of expertise
  • “Guiding from behind” and knowing when to take charge

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. 315 “Deep Dive” Part 1: Hospice and EOL Doulas with Deanna Cochran RN

Learn the “long-view” of end-of-life care and how hospice care has changed over time to now include death doulas.

My guest Deanna Cochran is a registered nurse with certification in hospice and palliative care who has served as a private EOL doula since 2005, so she is truly a pioneer in the movement. She is the founder of the CareDoula® School of Accompanying the Dying and the author of “Accompanying the Dying: Practical, Heart-Centered Wisdom for End-of-Life Doula and Healthcare Advocates.” Today we begin a “deep-dive” conversation that covers our experiences in nursing and medical training, hospice of the past vs today’s hospice, and why death doulas are so important right now. Tune in next week for Part 2 of our discussion! Learn more about Deanna’s work and the trainings she offers at her website:

www.certifiedcaredoula.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Deanna was first introduced to sitting vigil by her grandmother
  • The lack of death training in nursing and medical schools
  • Why we have to be aware of our own suffering before we can sit with the suffering of others
  • Why death doulas are needed now more than ever in our busy and understaffed healthcare system
  • How hospice care has changed over the years
  • What to do if you are receiving inadequate care from a hospice
  • How the medical system falls short of whole-person care by focusing primarily on the physical aspect of patients
  • Why personal experience matters a great deal in caring for the dying
  • The value of stillness and being quiet in end-of-life care

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 Alix Lutnick and Nancy Kendrick! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 314 Why Death Awareness is the Key to Your Best Life with Kate Manser

Learn why focusing on your mortality opens the door to finding deeper meaning in life.

My guest Kate Manser is the inspiring visionary creator of YOU MIGHT DIE TOMORROW, a movement to help people really live before they die. She is the author of the book You Might Die Tomorrow and The ALIVE Workbook, which she talks about today. She shares what she has learned through her own awakening about living fully by remembering our mortality. Kate’s work has been featured in O Magazine, she has spoken at Facebook HQ, and her book has sold thousands of copies. Most of all, she writes, she is just so happy to be alive. Learn more at her website:

www.youmightdietomorrow.com

Get the book here.

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Kate was inspired to start You Might Die Tomorrow as a movement
  • Why the most important aspect of preparing for death is learning how to live more fully in each and every moment
  • Why accepting suffering in life is the first step to living more deeply
  • Using the “Deathbed Gut Check” as a tool for decision-making
  • Paying attention to the small meaningful moments of life
  • How practice and intention can rewire your brain
  • How to deal with the fear of death
  • The benefits of walking meditation

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. 312 The Wisdom of a Deathwalker for Living and Dying Well with Zenith Virago

Learn the powerful lessons that come from a long career of service to others at the end of life.

My guest Zenith Virago is a respected pioneer and acknowledged expert in the fields of holistic death and dying. With over 20 years of experience she provides comfort, information and guidance to assist people through the natural and the sacred, the inner and outer journeying as they come to the transition at the end of life. She is the subject of the documentary film “Zen and the Art of Dying” and the co-author of the book The Intimacy of Death and Dying. Zen shares the lessons she has learned over the years from life and death and what it means to be a “Deathwalker.” Learn more at the website:

www.naturaldeathcarecentre.org

Get the book here.

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Zen first became interested in working with dying and death
  • What has changed in death care over the past few decades since she began her work
  • Why each death worker must do their own work in coming to terms with mortality
  • The importance of being able to sit with the mystery of death and not knowing how to fix things
  • Why every death has an “equation” that is unique and needs to be understood
  • How sadness can become grief or joy and both are acceptable reactions to death
  • The one question to ask each person on their deathbed
  • Dying as an “inside job” and tools for preparing for it
  • Why dying well is one of the greatest gifts you can give your loved ones

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 Elaine MacDonald and Bruce Wadd! 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. 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. 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!