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. 383 The Good News of 2022 with Karen Wyatt

Learn some of the positive developments around end-of-life issues that took place in 2022.

This is the last episode of 2022 and I’m sharing some of the best “good news” stories I’ve seen this year about progress we’ve made around care at the end of life. Every month I curate end-of-life news stories for my supporters on Patreon and I’ve made note of some encouraging developments that I present to you today. Watch this on YouTube if you’d like to see slides or enjoy listening to the audio. Meanwhile, farewell to 2022 and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Watch on YouTube

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • The Lancet Commission on the Value of Death calls for a global paradigm shift on death and dying
  • NHPCO works to improve equity in death and dying and decrease racial disparities in care
  • Studies document inequities in end-of-life care
  • Plan to train community workers to do outreach in underserved areas
  • Recognizing the emotional and spiritual aspects of the dying process
  • Federal legislation to create a national strategy on grief and to expand advance care planning
  • Studies on caregiver stress and model for paying family caregivers
  • Best and worst places to die in the US
  • Studies on use of psychedelics to decrease anxiety at end of life
  • Virtual reality similar to psilocybin in reducing anxiety
  • “Death Tech” and media coverage of death both on the rise
  • Human composting now legal in 5 states

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes. Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu and to those who have made a donation through Paypal or bought me a coffee! 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. 378 Surviving Grief with Humor with Laurie Burrows Grad

Learn how this television chef and blogger used humor to help her navigate life as a widow.

My guest Laurie Burrows Grad is a cookbook author and television chef who began blogging about grief, widowhood, and survival after the death of her husband Peter. She shares how she used humor to help her navigate life as a widow and offers some practical tips for others facing widowhood. Laurie is the author of the book The Joke’s Over, You Can Come Back Now: How this Widow Plowed Through Grief and Survived. Learn more about her work at her website:

www.lauriegrad.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Laurie felt demoted socially after the death of her husband
  • How writing blogs helped Laurie get through her grief
  • Why you have to get through the pain of grief in order to come out on the other side
  • Laurie’s experiences with grief counselors and with Our House Grief Support Center
  • How finding meaning within loss can help you feel better
  • How Laurie has used humor in her writing and throughout her grief process
  • The challenges of trying to date as a widow in later life
  • The trauma of experiencing a loved one’s death while traveling in an unfamiliar place and how the Neptune Society helped
  • Top ten things not to say to someone grieving and what to say instead
  • How cooking for others was also helpful for Laurie in her grief
  • How to get through the holidays and anniversaries by preparing in advance
  • The most important things Laurie has learned on her grief journey

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

EOLPodcast

Ep. 375 Touching Two Worlds: Finding Hope After Loss with Sherry Walling PhD

Learn how our grief touches the two worlds of sorrow and joy and how we can navigate these turbulent times.

My guest Dr. Sherry Walling is a clinical psychologist, speaker, podcaster, author and mental health advocate. She helps entrepreneurs and leaders navigate transition, loss, and complex human experience. Sherry is the author of Touching Two Worlds: A Guide for Finding Hope in the Landscape of Loss, a poetic exploration of grief informed by two very personal losses in her own life. She discusses the presence of both sorrow and joy within grief and how her own life has been reshaped by the grief she has experienced. Learn more at her websites:

www.sherrywalling.com

www.touchingtwoworlds.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What inspired Sherry to write this book
  • The experience of compound grief and “death by heartbreak”
  • The “two worlds” of grief
  • How grief changes us and why it’s important
  • How Sherry’s two grief experiences differed – after cancer and after suicide
  • The guilt experienced by medical professionals when a loved one dies
  • Coping with a suicide death
  • Parenting children while going through grief and teaching them about loss
  • How various forms of movement can help us with grief
  • The art of crying on airplanes
  • Grief requires us to rewrite our assumptions about the world

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 Marsha for buying me a coffee! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 367 Increasing Death Awareness in Japan with Masatoshi Shoji

Learn how this man’s experience with grief led him to start a Death Café in Japan and become a death doula and Willow EOL educator.

My guest Masatoshi Shoji is a licensed acupuncturist, health communicator and medical translator in Sendai Japan. He started Death Café Sendai in his hometown in 2015 and since then has trained as a certified grief counselor, death doula and Willow EOL Educator. He shares why he first became interested in working with grief and death and his experiences with Death Café in Japan.

Visit his website

Watch on YouTube

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Masatoshi’s experience with grief as a young widower in Japan
  • What inspired him to create Death Café Sendai
  • How he organized and promoted his first Death Café
  • Resources that Masatoshi is using to further his own death education
  • The gradual growth in popularity of Death Café in Japan
  • The obstacles to talking about death in his community, including the use of implicit language
  • How Masatoshi felt socially marginalized as a young widower in his community
  • His goal to bring acupuncture to hospice and end-of-life care

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

EOLPodcast

Ep. 364 What to Do When I’m Gone: Mothers and Daughters on Loss and Grief with Hallie Bateman, Suzy Hopkins, and Gia Snyder

Learn about a charming book of wisdom shared by a mother to her daughter and how it touches on the universal experience of loss and grief.

In this episode I’m welcoming my daughter Gia Snyder as my co-host. Gia is a spiritual teacher and musician, who is currently in nursing school to become an RN. Our special guests are also a mother and daughter pair: Suzy Hopkins and Hallie Bateman. Suzy is a retired journalist who worked for four Northern California newspapers and founded a community magazine in the Sierra Foothills. Hallie is a writer and illustrator based in Los Angeles whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Buzzfeed and many others. Together Suzy and Hallie created the book: What to Do When I’m Gone: A Mother’s Wisdom to Her Daughter. The four of us will discuss the book, our mother-daughter relationships, and how we are all dealing with loss and grief as we navigate life and its changes.

Learn more about Gia’s work at: www.divinelygia.com

Learn more about Hallie’s work at: www.halliebateman.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Why Suzy and Hallie decided to write this book
  • The anxiety mothers feel over the prospect of leaving children behind when they die
  • Anticipatory grief experienced by daughters as their mothers age
  • The complicated nature of the mother-daughter relationship
  • The importance of wisdom passed on by mothers to their daughters
  • How we grieve the loss of our mothers differently than others
  • Afterlife communication with our mothers
  • How sharing food together helps us heal
  • Why recipes are a valuable part of the legacy we leave for family members

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 and made a donation through Paypal! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 362 The Grief Cruises™: Travel to Heal Grief and Honor Loved Ones with Linda Findlay

Learn about an innovative cruise that focuses on grief support and memorialization of loved ones.

My guest Linda Findlay is an Aftercare Coordinator for funeral homes and a hospice bereavement support group facilitator. She is also the founder of The Grief Cruises™ and has escorted four groups on special cruises for the purpose of healing grief and honoring loved ones. She discusses her inspiration for this work and what to expect on a “grief cruise.” Learn more about her work at her websites:

www.thegriefcruises.com

www.mourningdiscoveries.com

Watch on YouTube

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Linda’s own grief journey that inspired her current work
  • What is a grief cruise and who is it for
  • The benefits of getting away from ordinary life when dealing with grief
  • Activities included on the cruises: workshops, memory wall, candlelit memorial walk, night of remembrance
  • These experiences help people go home with a coping “toolbox”
  • How families can benefit from taking a grief cruise together
  • How burial at sea for cremated remains is possible during a cruise
  • Feedback from attendees on past cruises
  • How participants learn that grief and joy can coexist
  • How COVID impacted Linda’s work as a bereavement coordinator

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

EOLPodcast

Ep. 359 Unburying My Father: A Grief Project with Zander Masser

Learn how discovering his father’s old slides helped Zander heal his longstanding grief and understand his father’s story.

My guest Zander Masser is an occupational therapist, husband, father, musician and author of the newly released narrative photography book Unburying My Father. The book chronicles his 10-year project of exploring his own grief while sorting through ten thousand slides he found in his father’s basement. Today he shares how this project helped him find new perspective on his grief and how he is helping others use storytelling and creativity to heal their grief. Learn more at his website:

www.randymasserphoto.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What Zander learned about his father through this project
  • How Zander gathered stories for the book
  • How learning his father’s hidden stories helped Zander better appreciate his photography
  • The trauma experienced by his father because of his diagnosis
  • How this book has given a voice to Zander’s father and made meaning of his entire life
  • How new layers of grief have emerged since undertaking this project
  • The shift from focusing on our loved one’s death to focusing on their life
  • How Zander was unprepared at age 14 to go through grief therapy because his family had almost never talked about his father’s illness and death
  • How to use creativity and stories to explore grief
  • How objects from the past can help us tell stories about our loved ones
  • How Zander used social media to begin putting this story out to the world
  • What medical providers can improve upon to help children deal with grief over the death of a loved one

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 to my newest donor Elizabeth Grace Wolf! Also thank you to Jen Blalock for buying me a coffee. Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 357 The Hidden Grief of the Replacement Child with Jeremy Damec

My guest Jeremy Damec has a master’s in Counseling Psychology and has worked with youth and families in San Francisco and in Mexico providing therapeutic services and developing community programs to support family and youth development. After his mother’s death from cancer in 2009 and following his own personal journey of grief, he began in 2015 working with families and their loved ones who are approaching the end of life. He has done volunteer chaplaincy training, end-of-life doula training, worked at a funeral home, and as a celebrant has officiated at both funerals and weddings. Today he shares his personal experience as a “replacement child” born after the death of his older brother. Learn more about Jeremy’s work at his website:

www.jeremydeathandgrief.com

Watch on YouTube

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What is a “replacement child”
  • Jeremy’s story of being introduced to grief before he was born
  • How a replacement child experiences grief
  • How a mother’s grief can influence her unborn child
  • How to process unspoken and hidden grief that has been present since before birth
  • How to find information about a loved one who died in the past
  • How being a replacement child has shaped and informed the work Jeremy does now

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 to my newest donors Erin Bishop, Carole Dempsey, and Sue Skeates! Also thank you to C. Schlumberg and Frances Pope Hewitt for making donations through Paypal. Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 355 Irish Keening and Wakes: Traditional Mourning Rituals with Mary McLaughlin

Learn about the history and importance of Irish mourning rituals.

My guest Mary McLaughlin is a singer/songwriter and teacher who studies and teaches workshops about Irish singing and technique and Gaelic song and culture. She has recorded five CD’s to international acclaim, written two song books and completed a PhD in Irish Otherworld Song. Today she teaches us about Irish wakes and the ancient funeral ritual of keening. Learn more at her website:

www.marymclaughlin.com

Watch on YouTube

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • The ancient tombs found in Ireland and what we can learn from them
  • Many contemporary funeral traditions have been influenced by both Christian and Pagan customs
  • Wakes thrived during the Middle Ages in the early Celtic Church but were later forbidden
  • “Professional waking” used to take place in small Irish villages
  • The purpose of the wake is to help people cry and mourn, sometimes through laughter and games
  • Keeners had to be good singers and specially trained to provide this ritual for wakes
  • The benefits of having keeners be outsiders to help the family express emotion, move into their grief, and create a sense of awe
  • The keen would continue from the wake through to the burial ground
  • The three stages of ritual: separation, liminality, and re-incorporation
  • How the keen addresses the 5 stages described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Pre-order All the Flowers of the Mountain by Christina Holbrook here (and thank you!)
  • Recommended Book: My Father’s Wake by Kevin Toolis
  • Sign up for Mary’s newsletter here

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 to my newest donor JoAna Dwyer! Also thank you to Mark Langlois for buying me a coffee (3, in fact)! Your contributions make all the difference.

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:

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 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. 351 Grief and the Best and Worst of Times with Dianne Gray

Learn how the death of her son inspired Dianne Gray’s current work as a death doula and patient advocate.

My guest Dianne Gray is a death doula, grief specialist and the Chief Innovation and Patient Advocacy Officer at Acclivity Health. After her son’s death from a rare neurodegenerative disorder she has dedicated her life to improving care for all adults and children facing serious illness. She shares her long journey with grief and how it has shaped and informed her work and her life.

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Dianne survived the end-of-life journey and death of her son
  • The best and worst experiences of the dying process
  • How Dianne’s encounters with death and grief led her to the mission of helping others facing loss
  • Why death and grief are part of the wellness movement and must be included in life in order to be whole
  • What Dianne learned about life from the work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
  • Simple tools to ease grief and improve resilience
  • Therapy works for some people and not for others – keep searching for a good fit with a therapist
  • Learning that grief is a long journey to become someone new
  • Why viewing life as a fascinating adventure is helpful (and we never know what might happen next)
  • How social media can help or harm our grieving process
  • How Dianne works virtually as a patient advocate to get patients admitted to hospice and palliative 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 patrons Phyllis Nickel and Kathleen Ribbens! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 345 Grief Coach: How Text-Based Support Can Help with Grief with Emma Payne

Learn how personalized text messages can help with the grief process for the bereaved and their support persons.

My guest Emma Payne is a seasoned entrepreneur and MIT graduate who is the founder and CEO of Grief Coach, a company that provides meaningful support to those who are experiencing loss and bereavement. She shares how Grief Coach offers personalized text messages to people who are grieving and to their support persons and why it is so effective. Learn more at the website:

www.grief.coach

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What inspired Emma to create Grief Coach
  • Our society lacks education about grief, particularly in challenging situations
  • How Grief Coach works
  • What types of loss and grief are supported through Grief Coach
  • What changes occurred for Grief Coach as a result of the pandemic
  • Sources for the tips and suggestions that are provided by text message
  • Research behind text-based grief support and why it is effective
  • How Grief Coach includes supporters of the bereaved in their messages
  • How Grief Coach works with hospices to offer benefits to their bereavement programs
  • How Grief Coach also helps clinicians manage end-of-life situations and deal with their own grief on the job
  • Grief Coach can be given as a gift to a bereaved person

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 Morgan Rakay and Patti Stueland! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 342 The Grieving Brain: The Science of Love and Loss with Mary-Frances O’Connor PhD

Learn how the brain changes and learns in response to loss and grief.

My guest Dr. Mary-Frances O’Connor is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Arizona, where she directs the Grief, Loss and Social Stress (GLASS) Lab, which investigates the effects of grief on the brain and the body. She discusses her book The Grieving Brain that highlights her research on the changes that occur in the brain during the grief process and how we can go about restoring a meaningful life while grieving. Learn more at her website:

www.maryfrancesoconnor.com

Get the book The Grieving Brain

Watch the video on YouTube

Read the transcript

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How the brain has to create a new “map” of reality after a loved one dies
  • Why the second year of grieving might be harder than the first
  • Why understanding the changes taking place in the brain can help us have more compassion for ourselves
  • How funeral rituals can be helpful for accepting the new reality that the brain must grasp
  • The difference between grief and grieving
  • How grief changes who you are and how you live in the world
  • Why guilt is a common emotion after a death
  • What is “complicated grief”
  • Why the experience of loss will continue to arise for us over and over again throughout life
  • What is the feeling of “yearning” and how does the brain contribute to it
  • Social connectedness is one of the most important coping skills for grieving
  • How to create an emotional “toolkit” that can help us cope with loss and grief (flexibility, presence, trying new experiences)
  • How grief can unite us and connect us with all of humanity

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 Christina Alleva and Teresa Putnam! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 341 Burial at Sea and Other Sacred End-of-Life Rituals with Olivia Bareham

Learn about the beauty of full-body burial at sea and why it is becoming a more popular alternative.

My guest Olivia Bareham is a certified Death Midwife, Home Funeral Guide, Interfaith Minister and Funeral Celebrant. She is the founder of the Sacred Crossings Institute, which provides education for death midwifery and home funeral support and of the Sacred Crossings Funeral Home. Today she discusses full-body sea burials and other unique alternatives she offers at her funeral home. Learn more at the website:

www.sacredcrossings.com

Read the transcript here.

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Olivia first became interested in home funerals
  • How Olivia is “paying forward” the mentoring she received as she was learning about home funerals
  • Death as a teacher and a gift
  • What inspired Olivia to start an alternative funeral home
  • What is full-body sea burial
  • How families and loved ones can participate in a sea burial
  • How to plan a full-body sea burial
  • Who might consider a sea burial for themselves or for a loved one
  • How Olivia facilitates rituals for families of ICU patients who are being taken off life support
  • How stillbirth services help parents with their overwhelming grief

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Register for Q&A Session with William Peters on At Heaven’s Door here

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. 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.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 337 The Hospice Doctor’s Widow: A Caregiver’s Journal with Jennifer O’Brien

Learn about a beautiful, artistic journal that explores the caregiver’s journey through dying and grief.

My guest this week is Jennifer O’Brien, author of the creative, gorgeous journal: The Hospice Doctor’s Widow. She discusses her journey as she cared for her husband who was a hospice and palliative care physician diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. We talk about grief and loss and caregiving in this intimate conversation. Learn more at her website:

www.hospicedrswidow.com

Get the book here

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Why this book is ideal for caregivers and people dealing with grief
  • How Jennifer created the art for the book
  • How Jennifer incorporated her husband’s wisdom into the book
  • What is “Precious Time” and how did that inform the way she and Bob spent his last days of life together
  • Navigating anticipatory grief for caregivers
  • Why the patient and the caregiver are going through two different processes
  • Why the survivors’ journey can be more difficult than the patient’s journey
  • What is the Triad of Certainty
  • Advice for caregivers
  • The At Peace Toolkit – A Guide to Being at Peace with End of Life

‘Precious Time’ is when you say what you need to say and don’t say what you will later regret.”

from The Hospice Doctor’s Widow by Jennifer O’Brien
  • A Year of Reading Dangerously – Register here
  • Get the At Peace Toolkit from Jennifer here

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 G. Thackrey and Mary Susan Graham! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLU Blog

Love Never Dies

How a song about a meadowlark reconnected me to my father’s love across the vast and timeless universe.

We had just finished dinner with two old friends we hadn’t seen in years when they invited us to check out their music room. Inside we found a stereophile’s dream–massive speakers, a state-of-the-art turntable and an enviable collection of vinyl records. We sat on lush leather chairs in the center of the room while our host began to play the songs he had selected for the evening. The sound quality was amazing and the notes washed over me as I relaxed into reverie in my cozy chair.

He put an LP on the turntable by Kelley Hunt, an artist I’d never heard before, and not only did her soulful vocals sweep me away, but the words she sang penetrated directly to my heart. I burst into tears when I heard the opening verse:

I′ll be calling you when the meadowlark sings
I’ll be touching you with the warm spring rains
I′ll watch over you like the moon in the sky
For I know love never dies.

Instantly I was carried back in time to the day after my father’s funeral: I had visited his grave with my baby daughter in my arms, completely devastated by his suicide death. I sat on the ground and cried from deep in my gut, releasing all the pain I hadn’t yet been able to express. When my tears were finally exhausted and my sobbing ceased I began to hear the most beautiful sound. A meadowlark was perched on the nearby barbed wire fence that surrounded the cemetery and singing its pretty melody for me over and over again.

I realized then that the bird had been there the entire time, accompanying my weeping with his lovely song. He kept singing to me and didn’t move away, even when I moved closer. The fact that this bird was sitting vigil with me in my grief was significant because the meadowlark had figured prominently in my relationship with my father. When I was growing up we spent nearly every weekend fishing, hiking or picnicking out in the Wyoming countryside, and there always seemed to be a meadowlark present wherever we went. Dad would whistle the song perfectly as we stopped to listen for a response. And on my first trip back to our family cabin after Dad’s death, it was not a coincidence that I was greeted by a meadowlark singing on the deck. This nondescript bird with its haunting tune symbolized the unspoken bond between me and Dad–often shy and fleeting, but filled with love.

So on that special evening as I listened to Kelley Hunt singing those words that seemed to have been written just for me I marveled at the synchronicities of life. How a friend I hadn’t seen for years–who didn’t even know my story–had selected a song that reached into the core of my being and reconnected me to Dad’s love, healing old remnants of my grief and lifting me to a state of profound joy. Love never dies. In fact it radiates around and through us perpetually, connecting us to one another with unseen threads across time and space and all boundaries. I’ve known this and written about it over and over again ever since that day by Dad’s grave: love is what really matters. And Kelley wrote a song about a meadowlark singing and my friend and I discovered that we are connected to one another in our grief and to Kelley Hunt in our knowledge that love will always find us, wherever we are.

Though the winds may blow
And scatter all our faith and our hope
Only one thing really matters
And that's love ... that's love

Kelley Hunt: Love Never Dies