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:

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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

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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.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 320 Disrupting the Casket Industry: Titan Casket Online with Scott Ginsberg, Liz Siegel, and Josh Siegel

Learn about an online marketplace for caskets that is a game-changer for the funeral industry.

My three guests–Scott Ginsberg, Liz Siegel, and Josh Siegel–are the co-founders of Titan Casket, an online marketplace that sells caskets directly to consumers. The mission of Titan Casket is “to offer designer caskets at revolutionary prices, while driving affordability and transparency in the funeral industry.” Today they’ll share why the casket and funeral industries are in need of disruption and how their online service works for consumers. We’ll talk about technology in general and how it is currently changing every aspect of end-of-life planning. Learn more at their website:

www.titancasket.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What inspired the creation of Titan Casket
  • Why now is the right time for a disruption in the funeral industry
  • How their online marketplace works for consumers
  • The “Funeral Rule” and consumer rights in funeral planning
  • How Titan Casket can actually benefit funeral directors
  • How an “on-demand” casket company can meet the unique and creative needs of consumers with a rapid turn-around time
  • Why death doulas, home funeral guides and alternative funeral directors should know about Titan Casket and their eco-friendly caskets
  • How technology is impacting other areas of 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 Kelly Bean, Leslie Alin-Tewes, Karen Friedman and Kyle Tevlin! 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. 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. 282 The Beauty of What Remains with Rabbi Steve Leder

Listen as Rabbi Steve Leder shares the wisdom learned through caring for the spiritual needs of his temple members at the end of life.

My guest Rabbi Steve Leder is the senior rabbi of Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles and the author of several books including the recently released The Beauty of What Remains: How Our Greatest Fear Becomes Our Greatest Gift. His beautifully-written book is based upon his experience providing spiritual care to thousands of temple members and their families as they faced the end of life. Interwoven with dozens of stories he learned as “Rabbi Steve” are the personal stories of “Son Steve”, navigating his father’s illness and eventual death from Alzheimer’s dementia. We share a deep and thoughtful conversation about the challenges of facing death and the beautiful life lessons it teaches us. Learn more about Rabbi Steve’s work at his website:

www.SteveLeder.com

Get the book on Bookshop or Amazon

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What inspired Rabbi Steve to write this book
  • The meaning of the title “The Beauty of What Remains”
  • Advice for how to “show up” for the dying
  • Dealing with the character flaws and secrets of the deceased when writing a eulogy
  • The need for greater honesty and authenticity when being with the dying
  • Why we can’t understand deep grief until we experience it ourselves
  • Why funerals during COVID may actually be more meaningful than before
  • How the dead speak to us through our memories
  • Why we must focus on “being a good ancestor” to those who will follow us

“Dying makes perfect sense to the dying, just not to the living; the same way that breathing underwater makes perfect sense to the fish but not to us.”

Rabbi Steve Leder

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Get The Beauty of What Remains here
  • Check out “10 Days to Activate Revolutionary Love” here
  • 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 S. Robertson! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 273 The Benefits of Psychedelics for End-of-Life Patients with Ira Byock MD

Learn about new research using psychedelic medications to help patients at the end of life with depression and anxiety.

My guest Dr. Ira Byock is a leading palliative care physician, author and public advocate for improving care through the end of life. In this discussion he shares important information about psychedelic medications and the benefits they offer to patients at the end of life. There is current research available that shows the value of these medications especially for patients with depression, anxiety and loss of meaning who experience a profound reframing of life. Learn more about Dr. Byock’s work at his website:

www.irabyock.org

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Dr. Byock got interested in studying psychedelic medications for palliative and hospice patients
  • What new research is revealing about the benefits of psychedelics for various medical conditions
  • How psychedelics have been shown to be helpful with depression, anxiety and demoralization syndrome
  • The dangers of recreational use of psychedelics vs. controlled therapeutic use
  • What a “psychedelic assisted therapeutic experience” consists of
  • How a psychedelic experience can rewrite the brain’s “default mode network”
  • The need for further research on these medications

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • 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. 255 What the Dying Teach Us About the Afterlife with Debra Diamond PhD

Learn what happens in the non-physical realm during the dying process according to a death doula and psychic medium.

My guest Debra Diamond is a former Wall Street money manager who left her career to pursue a life of service as a medical intuitive and psychic medium. She shares how she works with hospice patients as a death doula and what she has learned from them about the dying process and after-death experiences. Debra is the author of the book Diary of a Death Doula: 25 Lessons the Dying Teach Us About the Afterlife. Learn more at her website:

www.debradiamondauthor.com

Listen here:

What the Dying Teach Us About the Afterlife

This episode includes:

  • How Debra went from being a money manager to a medium and death doula
  • Why both the body and the soul need to be ready for death to occur
  • How dying patients “journey” to non-physical realms, including memories of the past, before they die
  • Medical science cannot measure or observe the non-physical realm and therefore tends to reject it
  • Clairsentience (receiving spiritual information through feelings) is common in our Western society, though most people don’t recognize it
  • How awareness of the non-physical realm can help with fear of death
  • Non-spiritual experiences are ineffable because our language doesn’t have the words to explain them
  • Tips for caring for the dying at the very end of life:
    • touch from a stranger or healthcare worker may not be helpful and may interrupt their process
    • be careful with what is said in front of dying patient
    • be quiet and meditative in their presence
    • have patient’s personal mementos in the room (photos, plants)
    • allow times of solitude for the patient
  • We can be “with” our loved ones in the non-physical realm even when we can’t be together in the same room when they are dying

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Get Debra’s book here: Diary of a Death Doula: 25 Lessons the Dying Teach Us About the Afterlife
  • View Debra’s YouTube channel here
  • Vigil for Global Compassion
  • Subscribe to this podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Stitcher 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 Patrons: Grace Lawrence, Arlene Radasky, Kelli Lyles, and Rafael Babilonia. Your contributions make all the difference!