EOLPodcast

Ep. 388 A Song for You: Personalized Songs for Hospice Patients with Emily Cavanagh

Learn about an initiative to provide hospice patients with songs written specifically for them about their lives and stories.

My guest Emily Cavanagh is a singer/songwriter based in New York City who performs in places like New York, Chicago and Dublin. She has made a career for herself as a singer at the intersection of music and service as she brings music to marginalized communities. She is the founder of the music initiative A Song for You, which features local, touring, and Grammy Award-winning songwriters who compose and perform original personalized songs for hospice patients and their families. She will discuss the inspiration behind A Song for You and how this work has benefitted both the recipients and the creators of these special songs. Learn more at her websites:

www.emilycavanaghmusic.com

www.hereisasongforyou.org

Watch on YouTube

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Emily got started in social work, activism and music
  • What inspired her to create A Song for You
  • The first song Emily wrote for a patient
  • How she writes songs for total strangers
  • How A Song for You has grown over time
  • The process for applying to have a song written for someone
  • How patients, families and songwriters have benefitted from sharing this special music
  • How to support A Song for You and its mission

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 Lucy Karl and Amrita Dhanji, and also to Karen Friedmann for buying me a coffee! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 385 End Well: Shifting the Culture Around End of Life with Tracy Wheeler

Learn how End Well brings together fresh and diverse perspectives on the end of life from art, design and other non-medical fields.

My guest Tracy Wheeler is the executive director of End Well, an organization dedicated to transforming how the world views end of life. Tracy has a background in art, education, culture and politics, which inform her commitment to shining a light on how we might make end of life a part of life. She discusses the mission and work of End Well since its founding and what lies ahead in the future, including the new End Well Podcast. Learn more at the website:

www.endwellproject.org

Watch on YouTube

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Why the end-of-life movement needs to expand beyond the perspective of the healthcare industry
  • Why End Well is working with Hollywood to get more stories written about the end of life
  • How the Netflix series From Scratch portrayed very accurately a true story of serious illness and end of life
  • What the first season of the End Well Podcast consists of
  • About Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider, the founder of End Well, and what inspired her to create this organization
  • Why end-of-life care issues cannot be fixed within the medical system that helped create those very issues
  • The End Well Conference planned for 2024 and how to sign up for the mailing list
  • Why psychedelic assisted therapy will be part of the wave of the future
  • The fear of death that exists within the medical profession
  • The impact of COVID on how healthcare approaches death and dying

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 Michele Duncan King, Arianna Workman, and Katrina Marcuse-Sharratt! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 382 Dear Death: Finding Meaning in Life and Peace in Death with Diane Button

Learn how to create a meaningful life and prepare for death with tools to help death doulas, hospice staff, and loved ones navigate the end of life.

My guest Diane Button is a founding partner of the Bay Area End-of-Life Doula Alliance in Northern California and an instructor for the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate Program. She is also the author of Dear Death: Finding Meaning in Life, Peace in Death and Joy in an Ordinary Day and she shares insights she gathered from research she did for her masters degree and from working with hospice and doula clients over the past decade. Learn more at the website:

www.dianebutton.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What led Diane to become a death doula
  • The inspiration behind Dear Death
  • The 4 pillars of a meaningful life and how Diane gathered this information
  • Why legacy projects are important and how to create one
  • What does it take to have a “good death”
  • Why Diane created The Doula’s Final Checklist
  • The “Mint Jelly” exercise for talking about death
  • Where to get Dear Death and the companion workbook

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 Lyn Canale and Donelle Dreese and thank you Joy for increasing your pledge! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 380 Heartwood: The Cycle of Life and Loss with Barbara Becker

Learn about a beautiful new book that explores how death teaches us, through many varied experiences of loss, how to truly live.

My guest Barbara Becker is an interfaith minister and a strategic communications consultant specializing in strengthening the voice of the non-profit community, working with the United Nations, Human Rights First, the Ms. Foundation for Women, and the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. She is also the author of the book Heartwood: The Art of Living with the End in Mind and she shares the important lessons she has learned from death and loss throughout her life. Learn more about her work at the website:

www.barbarabecker.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What inspired Barbara to become an interfaith minister and to volunteer in hospice
  • How her work in hospice informed her own feelings about death
  • What is “heartwood” and why it is a fitting title for the book
  • How Barbara turned to her own book for guidance when she faced a health crisis of her own
  • The one question we should ask ourselves to live a more purposeful life
  • What we can learn about coping with death and grief from religious traditions outside of our own
  • Advice to help family caregivers cope with caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s
  • How to cope with the first holiday season while grieving the death of a loved one

Links mentioned in this episode:

EOLPodcast

Ep. 379 Honoring Choices: A Film to Inspire End-of-Life Planning with Elizabeth Coplan and Halle Williams

Learn about a short film that was created to encourage people to plan for and have conversations about the end of life.

In this episode I welcome two guests to discuss the short film Honoring Choices that is a powerful tool for persuading people to plan for and talk about the end of life. Elizabeth Coplan is the founder of Grief Dialogues and the creator of the stage play Honoring Choices that ultimately became the film we are featuring. Halle Williams is the marketing director for both Grief Dialogues and Honoring Choices and the co-host of Out of Grief Comes Art Podcast along with Elizabeth. Learn more about their work at the website:

www.griefdialogues.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What inspired the creation of the film Honoring Choices
  • The true story behind the film
  • What Elizabeth and Halle hope the film will accomplish
  • The serious racial disparity in completing advance directives and how the film helps address this issue
  • The power of storytelling and how the film uses story to teach
  • The premiere of Honoring Choices at the Reimagine Festival in LA
  • How to use the film for teaching for hospices, hospitals, schools, churches
  • How to sponsor a screening of the film
  • Inspiration for the podcast Out of Grief Comes Art

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 patron Maggie Dial! Your contribution makes all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 366 The Death Conversation Game and Talking About Death with Angela Fama

Learn about a creative game to help foster conversations about death.

My guest Angela Fama is an artist and photographer who lives in Vancouver Canada and is also a recently trained death doula. She created the Death Conversation Game and facilitates online seasonal Let’s Talk About Death conversations. She will share how she became interested in exploring death as a subject and why she created the game. We will also play a few rounds of the game so you can see how it works! Learn more at her websites:

www.angelafama.com

www.deathconversationgame.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Angela’s What is Love project
  • How focusing on love led her eventually to learn about death
  • Why Angela needed to talk about death after a serious accident
  • What inspired the Death Conversation Game
  • How playing a game helps facilitate conversations about death
  • Why it’s important for people to talk about death
  • How to create a safe, trauma-informed space to discuss death
  • We play the game to demonstrate how it works
  • Who might benefit from using the game in their work
  • How Angela’s time in Zimbabwe influenced her decision to become a death doula
  • Angela’s request for a collaborator to extend the reach of the game

Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?

The Flaming Lips from Do You Realize

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Song: Do You Realize by The Flaming Lips
  • Get in touch with Angela: info@deathconversationgame.com

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 Martha Lundgren, and to those who have bought me a coffee and made a donation through Paypal! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 365 How to Live a Death-Aware Life with Karen Wyatt MD (ENCORE)

Learn the benefits of having a personal practice to increase our death-awareness.

In this encore solo episode I’ll be sharing with you research that shows that the human brain has a primal mechanism to protect us from thinking about and acknowledging our own personal death. Even those of us who study death and teach others how to prepare for the end of life can be in denial about our own mortality. However, living with “death awareness” is the best way to grow spiritually and make the most of every moment of life. My book The Tao of Death (with a companion journal) can be used for daily contemplation and help you become more death aware in your own life. Let’s talk about why we need to maintain our death-awareness and how to do it!

www.eoluniversity.com/taoofdeath

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • A study that shows the defenses against death-awareness that exist in the primitive human brain
  • Why personal death-awareness must be intentionally cultivated
  • How death-awareness can expand and transform our lives
  • Why daily death contemplation is essential to our growth
    • Think about the fleeting nature of life
    • Acknowledge fears of death and dying
    • Recognize barriers to awareness
  • Benefits of increased death-awareness:
    • Enjoy the present moment
    • Find comfort in stillness
    • Experience authentic gratitude for life
    • Experience awe
    • Become less attached to material things
    • Be more inclusive and less exclusive
    • See everything as sacred

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 and to those who have bought me a coffee (thank you Elisa Weger!) and made a donation through Paypal! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 361 Exploring End-of-Life Controversies Through Fiction Writing with John Byrne Barry

Learn about a novel that explores the moral dilemma of a son whose father asks him to end his suffering by hastening his death.

My guest John Byrne Barry is a writer, designer, actor, pickleball player, and crossing guard. He is the author of the novel When I Killed My Father: An Assisted-Suicide Family Thriller that explores what might happen if a son followed through on his father’s request to hasten the end of his life. He discusses how fictional stories can help us address controversial issues and find new perspectives on them and why he writes fiction “with a conscience.” Learn more about his writing at his website:

www.johnbyrnebarry.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Why John chose to wrote a novel that addresses a family member helping a loved one end his life
  • How John did research for the book in order to understand hospice, end-of-life and right-to-die issues
  • How fiction can help us look at controversial and complicated issues and find more compassion for one another
  • How John portrayed communication issues, old family conflicts, and shadow wounds as obstacles to decision-making in the book
  • What John learned from writing this book
  • How end-of-life issues are becoming more visible in popular culture
  • What readers might take away from the book and apply to their own lives

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 Karen Hendrickson, and to those who have bought me a coffee and made a donation through Paypal! 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. 349 Why My Family Chose Hospice with Kathleen Vallee Stein

Learn about the hospice experience from the perspective of a family member.

My guest Kathleen Vallee Stein worked for the California Department of Aging and has written numerous articles on caring for aging patents for more than twenty years. Her work has been published in the Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Pasadena Star-News, Orange County Register, and the Jewish Journal. Recently she has written a book about her family’s experiences as her father faced the end of life called Loving Choices, Peaceful Passing: Why My Family Chose Hospice, and today she’ll share insights from that hospice journey with her father. Learn more at her website:

www.valleeview.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How her family made the decision to choose hospice for her father
  • The challenges of having conversations about hospice with a loved one at the end of life
  • How the family had to bring up hospice with the doctor initially but he was helpful after that point
  • The relief experienced by the entire family and the patient once they made the decision to stop curative treatment and to enroll in hospice
  • Negative misperceptions about hospice are an obstacle to early admission
  • How her father’s temperament changed for the better after going on hospice
  • Why Kathleen hired in-home professional caregivers even though her parents were initially opposed to it
  • How they managed their parents’ financial issues as a family
  • Dealing with old family conflicts that arise at the end of life
  • How the hospice chaplain made a big difference for her father
  • The many positive surprises that arose during her father’s end of life
  • How they planned the funeral and made decisions about disposition
  • How she and her mother grew closer through the challenges of caring for her father at the end of life
  • Advice to those considering hospice for a loved one
  • Hope and “precious time” with her father in his last days

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. 340 Caregiver Crisis: Meeting the Needs of the Future with Jessica Zitter MD

Learn about the current crisis in family caregiving and what you can do to help.

My guest Dr. Jessica Zitter is a specialist in Critical Care and Palliative Care medicine and the author of the book Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life. Her work is featured in the documentary Extremis as well as her new film, Caregiver: A Love Story. Today she discusses the current crisis situation for family caregivers who are drastically overworked with little support. This is one of the most important topics we can address for the future! Learn more at these websites:

www.jessicazitter.com

www.caregiveralovestory.com

Read the transcript here. Watch video on YouTube

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What inspired Jessica to create Caregiver: A Love Story
  • How film is a compelling medium for encouraging people to change their behavior
  • How medical providers are often unaware of the stresses facing family caregivers
  • More people are now dying at home than in the hospital which means there is huge need for caregivers
  • 1 out of 5 Americans is caring for a loved one at home
  • The burden experienced by caregivers is physical, mental and financial
  • We need a workplace culture that supports caregivers
  • Family caregivers are providing billions of dollars of unpaid work for an average of 4.5 years
  • Hospitals and doctors are doing a poor job of preparing caregivers for the tasks they will face – The Care Act requires them to provide education (but it’s not happening)
  • Hospice staffs are also burdened by the caregiver crisis
  • We also need to build up and support professional paid caregivers

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. 339 Feng Shui for Hospice Patients with Char Tarashanti

Learn how paying attention to the small details of the surroundings can make a big difference in the wellbeing of hospice patients.

My guest Char Tarashanti is a retired Hospice Chaplain and Certified Feng Shui Consultant. She shares how the principles of Feng Shui can be applied to the care of hospice patients and improve the physical environment as well as the harmony and balance of the space. Her practical suggestions make it simple for any of us to create more pleasing and appealing surroundings for people at the end of life. Download her handout here:

Handout

Read Transcript

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What is Feng Shui
  • How death is viewed within the Feng Shui tradition
  • How Char became interested in Feng Shui and in hospice work
  • The benefits for patient and caregiver of creating a more harmonious space
  • The essential elements of Feng Shui and how to apply them to a hospice room
  • How to manage clutter and get better organized in a home hospice setting
  • The two most important features of Feng Shui for hospice patients
  • How caregivers should communicate about any changes being made in the home before beginning the process

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 Aby Fy and Anne Janssen and to Richard Schneider for increasing your monthly pledge! 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. 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. 327 Warm Water: The Last Act of Compassion in Hospice Care with Pepper Cappuccio RN

Learn about the unique stories gathered by a hospice nurse who works primarily on-call during after-hours shifts.

My guest Pepper Cappuccio is a registered nurse who has worked in hospice care for over 12 years. As an on-call nurse who frequently works evenings and weekends he is often present at the time of death for patients or shortly thereafter. He is the author of the book Warm Water: The Last Act of Compassion, which consists of stories of patients and families he has helped throughout the years as they navigate the last hours of life. He discusses the uniqueness of his work and shares stories about experiences in hospice that have changed his life. Learn more at his website:

www.peppercappuccio.com

Get Warm Water:The Last Act of Compassion here

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Pepper was inspired to become a hospice nurse
  • Why he is willing to take night call for his hospice and how it differs from field work during the day
  • How he uses music as a source of calming or inspiration in his work
  • How he chose the stories he included in the book to represent a cross-section of patients served by hospice
  • What it’s like to be a male nurse in a traditionally female profession
  • Why families need support during the hours shortly after the death of a loved one
  • What Pepper has learned from his hospice work and what he hopes readers will take away from his book
  • Special stories of synchronicity from the book

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 Cindy Spence! Your contributions make all the difference.