‘It’s confusing as hell’…

91-year-old was told he was dying, said his goodbyes — and then learned he’ll live

Phil Robinson finds comfort in the chance to watch the squirrels and birds at his home, after being mistakenly told he had only weeks to live last month.

By Erin Brohman

When Phil Robinson, 91, was told cancer had spread through his lungs and he had mere weeks left to live, he said his goodbyes, got his affairs in order and was prepared to die — until doctors told him he was, in fact, cancer-free and could return home.

“I don’t know where I’m going from here. I really don’t know how to handle this at all,” said Robinson.

“I don’t think most people get this chance at all. Never.”

Robinson went to Winnipeg’s St. Boniface Hospital on March 20 because he was having trouble breathing. After several tests, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted to a ward, where he started treatment.

A doctor visited him the next morning with grave news: results of a scan appeared to show the spread of cancer throughout his chest. Cancer in his neck that he’d had radiation treatment for nine years earlier, it seemed, had spread.

“He said, ‘Phil, you’ve got two to three weeks to live.'” 

My doctor came round and he said, ‘Oh, Phil. I have one small problem. We made a mistake.’

– Phil Robinson

Robinson, a widower of about 10 years, had his son, 60, with him at the time. Robinson didn’t want to alarm him.

“I said, ‘Well, we’ve got to do something about it.'”

Over the following two weeks, all of Robinson’s friends and family came to his bedside to pay their respects and say goodbye. The hospital chaplain visited him. It took some time for him to get there, but Robinson eventually asked to speak to the medical assistance in dying, or MAID, team.

“I had a wish, because pushing sort of 92 years old, you don’t really mind. You’re due to go if you’re ready to go,” he said. “I wanted to finish it right now and get it out of the way.”

‘We made a mistake’

But a definitive diagnosis of cancer was required before he could be offered medically assisted death, so he went for another CT scan. A different doctor delivered the results.

“He said, ‘Oh, Phil. I have one small problem. We made a mistake. You do not have cancer through your body,'” Robinson said. 

“‘You don’t have this anymore, and you never had.'”

“Oh!” he laughed nervously, recalling the moment.

“So all of a sudden I find that my cancer is still exactly where it was around my neck, it’s never moved to anywhere else, and it did leave you in a complete sort of — you don’t know where the hell you go.”

According to the hospital discharge summary, the second CT scan showed his lungs and lymphatic areas had cleared. The signs of the infection — which was originally believed to be cancer — had cleared on the second scan.

His son took him back home on April 8.

“[Robinson had] been seen by the palliative team but now discharged as it appears he has no cancer,” reads his discharge summary.

CBC contacted the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority to ask why additional tests after the first CT scan appear not to have been done before Robinson was told he had only weeks left to live.

A spokesperson for the WRHA said it cannot comment on Robinson’s situation for privacy reasons, and that no critical incident report has been filed.

Robinson has been in touch with CancerCare’s patient relations department to get answers. He hopes someone can offer him some guidance.

‘They’re thrilled that I’m back’

“I am not dying. Nope. I’m here for the long run. I don’t know how long that’s going to be, but I’m here,” Robinson said with a chuckle, then gestured out his window. He’s discovered a newfound easy connection with the backyard wildlife.

“Look at my squirrel — he’s sitting out there on the little thing. You can’t see him, but he’s sitting there, watching us.”

Once home, Phil began sharing the news that he was in fact still around with his friends and family, as well as home-care workers and even the two ladies who clip his nails every two weeks, who visited him in hospital to say goodbye.

“I had hugs like you wouldn’t believe,” he said with a laugh. “They all have the same response. They’re thrilled that I’m back.”

But for Robinson, it’s a bit more complicated, especially when he’s alone with his thoughts. He already faced the difficult task of saying goodbye to everyone he loves: 24 family members and 12 of his ‘secondary family’ of supportive friends, until he couldn’t bear the sadness of repeat visits.

He reflects on his own vitality. At 16, Robinson was a member of the U.K.’s Royal Navy during the Second World War, bringing supplies and refreshments to troops. He travelled from his home in Norwich, England after the war to join the Canadian Army, serving in the Korean War, before joining British Airways as a traffic assistant, and later a pilot for the military.

In his lifetime, he’s lost two wives, two siblings and two of three children to cancer.

“I accept the fact that I’m not dead. But now I’m just scared that I’m going to get sick or something, and everybody will say, ‘He’s dead again. And we’ve already done this.’ It’s confusing as hell.”

Robinson sits on his back patio every afternoon where things are certain: the chirp of birds at the feeder, the sociable squirrels, a rabbit who drops by each day.

“How many people do you know who died and came back? And particularly it was Easter,” he laughed, with a tear in his eye.

Complete Article HERE!

You’re going to die someday.

WeCroak’s Hansa Bergwall says remembering that will make your life better.

Hansa Bergwall, the co-founder of WeCroak, a mindfulness app that reminds you five times a day that you’re going to die.


“If they were going to write your obituary tomorrow, would you be happy with what they said? That’s an important question.”

On the latest episode of Recode Decode with Kara Swisher, WeCroak co-founder Hansa Bergwall joined Kara in studio to talk about his app, which reminds you about death five times a day.

“One of the things that makes us most unhappy is we tend to get caught up in things that don’t matter,” Bergwall said. “We tend to get caught up in an angry voice or in minutiae or in stress or in tons of things that ultimately aren’t that important to us. And when we remember our mortality, we can take a deep breath and just go, ‘Oh, I don’t have to think about this. I don’t have to engage. I don’t have time for this.’ And move on.”

The app, which uses a picture of a poison dart frog as its logo, is based on a Bhutanese folk saying: “To be a truly happy person, one must contemplate death five times daily.” It pushes quotes about death, loss, and acceptance to users at five randomly selected times every day, between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm.

Bergwall said he and his cofounder, Ian Thomas, are proud that their 30,000 monthly users spend less than two minutes in the app daily. They designed WeCroak to have no advertising or hooks to social media, lest they cheapen the experience or compromise their own values.

“We know what social media is: It’s addictive,” he said. “It’s not really a safe place. If you feel safe there, great, take it there. But we’re not gonna make a button encouraging you to do that. Because we take the responsibility of reminding people of their mortality, which is a vulnerable thing, seriously.”

On the new podcast, he also talked about the “deluded” ways Silicon Valley is trying to hack death and why tech moguls who encourage employees to meditate may be tricking them into working longer hours.

Complete Article HERE!

AI Could Predict Death. But What If the Algorithm Is Biased?

By Amitha Kalaichandran

Earlier last month the University of Nottingham published a study in PloSOne about a new artificial intelligence model that uses machine learning to predict the risk of premature death, using banked health data (on age and lifestyle factors) from Brits aged 40 to 69. This study comes months after a joint study between UC San Francisco, Stanford, and Google, which reported results of machine-learning-based data mining of electronic health records to assess the likelihood that a patient would die in hospital. One goal of both studies was to assess how this information might help clinicians decide which patients might most benefit from intervention.

The FDA is also looking at how AI will be used in health care and posted a call earlier this month for a regulatory framework for AI in medical care. As the conversation around artificial intelligence and medicine progresses, it is clear we must have specific oversight around the role of AI in determining and predicting death

There are a few reasons for this. To start, researchers and scientists have flagged concerns about bias creeping into AI. As Eric Topol, physician and author of the book Deep Medicine: Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare, puts it, the challenge of biases in machine learning originate from the “neural inputs” embedded within the algorithm, which may include human biases. And even though researchers are talking about the problem, issues remain. Case in point: The launch of a new Stanford institute for AI a few weeks ago came under scrutiny for its lack of ethnic diversity.

Then there is the issue of unconscious, or implicit, bias in health care, which has been studied extensively, both as it relates to physicians in academic medicine and toward patients. There are differences, for instance, in how patients of different ethnic groups are treated for pain, though the effect can vary based on the doctor’s gender and cognitive load. One study found these biases may be less likely in black or female physicians. (It’s also been found that health apps in smartphones and wearables are subject to biases.)

In 2017 a study challenged the impact of these biases, finding that while physicians may implicitly prefer white patients, it may not affect their clinical decision-making. However it was an outlier in a sea of other studies finding the opposite. Even at the neighborhood level, which the Nottingham study looked at, there are biases—for instance black people may have worse outcomes of some diseases if they live in communities that have more racial bias toward them. And biases based on gender cannot be ignored: Women may be treated less aggressively post-heart attack (acute coronary syndrome), for instance.

When it comes to death and end-of-life care, these biases may be particularly concerning, as they could perpetuate existing differences. A 2014 study found that surrogate decisionmakers of nonwhite patients are more likely to withdraw ventilation compared to white patients. The SUPPORT (Study To Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatments) study examined data from more than 9,000 patients at five hospitals and found that black patients received less intervention toward end of life, and that while black patients expressed a desire to discuss cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with their doctors, they were statistically significantly less likely to have these conversations. Other studies have found similar conclusions regarding black patients reporting being less informed about end-of-life care.

When it comes to death and end-of-life care, these biases may be particularly concerning, as they could perpetuate existing differences. A 2014 study found that surrogate decisionmakers of nonwhite patients are more likely to withdraw ventilation compared to white patients. The SUPPORT (Study To Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatments) study examined data from more than 9,000 patients at five hospitals and found that black patients received less intervention toward end of life, and that while black patients expressed a desire to discuss cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with their doctors, they were statistically significantly less likely to have these conversations. Other studies have found similar conclusions regarding black patients reporting being less informed about end-of-life care.

However, in some cases, cautious use of AI may be helpful as one component of an assessment at end of life, possibly to reduce the effect of bias. Last year, Chinese researchers used AI to assess brain death. Remarkably, using an algorithm, the machine was better able to pick up on brain activity that had been missed by doctors using standard techniques. These findings bring to mind the case of Jahi McMath, the young girl who fell into a vegetative state after a complication during surgical removal of her tonsils. Implicit bias may have played a role not just in how she and her family were treated, but arguably in the conversations around whether she were alive or dead. But Topol cautions that using AI for the purposes of assessing brain activity should be validated before they are used outside of a research setting.

We know that health providers can try to train themselves out of their implicit biases. The unconscious bias training that Stanford offers is one option, and something I’ve completed myself. Other institutions have included training that focuses on introspection or mindfulness. But it’s an entirely different challenge to imagine scrubbing biases from algorithms and the datasets they’re trained on.

Given that the broader advisory council that Google just launched to oversee the ethics behind AI is now canceled, a better option would be allowing a more centralized regulatory body—such as building upon the proposal put forth by the FDA—that could serve universities, the tech industry, and hospitals

Artificial intelligence is a promising tool that has shown its utility for diagnostic purposes, but predicting death, and possibly even determining death, is a unique and challenging area that could be fraught with the same biases that affect analog physician-patient interactions. And one day, whether we are prepared or not, we will be faced by the practical and philosophical conundrum by having a machine involved in determining human death. Let’s ensure that this technology doesn’t inherit our biases.

Complete Article HERE!

From diamonds to rockets, mourning the dead has gotten high-tech

In the 21st century, people have a widening range of options for preserving loved ones’ ashes.

Christina Martoia was 18 when her father died. Ten years later, she and her mother had his ashes transformed into this half-carat diamond. “Every time I show someone my memorial diamond, I get to talk about my dad,” says Martoia, the U.S. representative of Algordanza, the company that makes the diamonds.

By Glenn McDonald

Throughout history, people have devised elaborate ways to memorialize the dead: the pyramids of Egypt, Europe’s Gothic mausoleums, the Taj Mahal in India. What some mourners consider meaningful, others would call macabre. In 19th-century Europe and America, “death photography” produced portraits of the departed in lifelike poses; in the Tibetan Buddhist rite known as sky burial or bya gtor (alms for the birds), earthly remains are set out to feed vultures.

Notions about honoring the dead are shaped by many factors—culture, tradition, geography, religion. But the notion is one thing, and the execution is another. In every era, it’s the available technology that determines our range of memorial options.

The intersections of death and technology have long been busy crossroads. In these early years of the 21st century, they’re getting really interesting. Because I write about science and technology for a living, I’ve lingered at these intersections, observing the innovations: digital memorials on social media, eco-friendly green burial options, even interactive tombstones.

Among the tech-savvy options for modern decedents, one stands out because it’s so genuinely weird. Thanks to startling advances in industrial engineering, we can now synthetically re-create colossal geological forces to shape our ultimate destiny on this planet. It’s gratuitous and extreme and wonderful: We can turn our mortal remains into diamonds. Real diamonds.

Several companies worldwide now offer services to families that have the notion, and the resources, to memorialize their loved ones in arguably the most permanent way possible. The Swiss company Algordanza is one of them.

Using high-tech heavy-industry machines, engineers can transform the carbon from human ashes into diamond gems that are physically and chemically identical to natural diamonds. The geologic process that otherwise takes hundreds of millions of years can now be managed in weeks.

It works like this: After the cremation, the bereaved family ships one pound of ashes to Algordanza’s laboratory in Switzerland. Scientists process the ashes to extract the pure carbon elements and remove other impurities. (The remaining ashes are shipped back.) From there, Algordanza uses the same tools Mother Nature uses to make diamonds: heat and pressure.

In the next step, the carbon ashes are converted into graphite, a stable allotrope of carbon in which the atoms are packed into tight, flat sheets. Then the carbon settles down for a long bake inside Algordanza’s high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) machines. Temperatures rise as high as about 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit. For comparison, consider that cast iron melts at about 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then there’s the pressure. Within the HPHT machine, a system of cubic presses exerts a force of 870,000 pounds per square inch on the graphite, gradually changing the molecular structure and transforming the carbon into pure diamond.

To be clear, these diamonds aren’t just similar to a natural diamond; they are identical down to the atomic level. The gem that emerges can be kept in its rough state or cut and polished by Algordanza’s specialists.

The entire operation—from initial receipt of ashes to final delivery of the diamond—typically takes five to eight months. The company processes approximately 1,000 memorial diamonds a year and has representatives in 34 countries.

Algordanza offers packages with prices starting at about $3,000, says Christina Martoia, its U.S. representative. About that pricing—perhaps it’s impolite to ask, but we all want to know, right?

“The largest Algordanza memorial diamond produced to date was a 1.76-carat brilliant cut,” Martoia says. “The price was $38,000.”

While the hard science of memorial diamonds is fascinating—a billion years in a matter of weeks!—the price may be out of reach for us budget-minded afterlife planners. Death is already mandatory and largely unpleasant. Does it have to be expensive too?

Happily, another company has stepped into this odd little marketplace. Headquartered in Barcelona, the Spanish start-up Bios Urn offers a much more affordable high-tech memorial option.

By way of a smartphone app and a kind of interactive funeral urn, the Bios system lets grieving families turn their departed loved one into an indoor tree for their home. A capsule of cremains is bedded in a large pot, in which a seedling is planted. As the seedling grows, it sends roots into the cremains, and the Bios Incube automatically waters and cares for the memorial sapling. Built-in sensors monitor temperature, humidity, and soil conditions. Information beamed to the smartphone allows the family to nurture the sapling as it grows into a tree.

The company offers two versions. One provides the basic biodegradable urn and planter for $145. The more expensive version, incorporating the sensors and the app, is around $700. I could swing that, and I kind of like the idea of making my kids take care of me through my oaken golden years.

Will bytes replace gravestones?

A historian asks how we’ll mark death and memorialize loved ones in a digital future.

Katie Thornton, cemetery historian and Fulbright-National Geographic digital storytelling fellow

Katie Thornton has been thinking quite a bit about death. For the past few years, the cemetery historian has examined epitaphs and researched the “residents” buried at Lakewood Cemetery in her hometown of Minneapolis, with the goal of preserving stories for posterity. “A lot is at stake right now,” says the Fulbright-National Geographic digital storytelling fellow. Around the world, people are questioning whether cemeteries are a sustainable use of scarce land. “Without planning, the stories buried at cemeteries could be lost forever,” Thornton says—but technology may offer a solution. Thornton is launching a podcast, Death in the Digital Age, to explore how global urbanization and the rise of digital documentation are changing conventions for memorializing the dead, especially in England and Singapore. Thornton discusses her work on National Geographic’s Open Explorer platform. —Annie Roth

Candi K. Cann is one of the world’s leading experts on modern mourning. She teaches comparative religion at Baylor University in Texas and is the author of the book Virtual Afterlives: Grieving the Dead in the Twenty-First Century. She says that as a mourning custom, memorial diamonds and smart urns are really just modern iterations of much older cultural traditions. Both are associated with the psychological concept of continuing bonds.

The idea is that keeping the decedent in one’s life, in some form, is healthier than the detachment of, for instance, putting Dad six feet under. The diamond or the urn reflects “the need for continued rituals that incorporate and acknowledge the role of the loss of the deceased person,” Cann says. “It allows the living to grieve without being forced to ‘move on’ or forget the dead.”

If you’re interested in going down this particular rabbit hole, Cann suggests looking into the strange beauty of Victorian mourning jewelry. “The bereaved would take a lock of the decedent’s hair and turn it into wearable and functional jewelry,” she says. “Often the hair was woven into an intricate design and turned into a ring, a brooch, or a pin. Only the bereaved knew the origins of the hair.”

Cann says such jewelry is meant to serve the same function as today’s diamond or interactive urn—or yesteryear’s death photography, for that matter. It’s about people turning to the technology of their era to navigate death and dying. The Romans did it. The Persians did it. The Maya did it. We’re doing it with delicate microchips and massive machines. The technologies change, but the basic human experience remains.

Since I have some time (I hope), I plan to postpone any decisions until I’ve surveyed all my 21st-century options. Right now I’m leaning toward the tree. It’s more cheerful, and I’ve always admired the sedentary style of flora as a lifestyle choice.

Besides, that diamond thing seems like a lot of pressure.

Complete Article HERE!

‘Soul midwife’ offers companionship to the dying in their final moments

Linda Jane McCurrach is an end-of-life doula – a non-medical, holistic companion who guides and helps people to have a gentle and tranquil death.

Linda McCurrach says it a privilege to do the job she does

By Maria Croce

Midwives are associated with helping to bring new life into the world. But there’s another type who are there at the end, when people are dying.

Linda Jane McCurrach is a “soul midwife” or end-of-life doula – a non-medical, holistic companion who guides and supports the dying to help them have a gentle and tranquil death.

She describes the people she supports as friends and says it’s about helping them have a “good” death. But she admits some people initially find it difficult to grasp the idea that there can be a positive side to something so finite.

Linda Jane added: “People don’t even want to think about having a good death because they can’t imagine dying.

“But in eastern culture, they believe that only by looking at our death can we live fully.”

She sees some parallels between conventional midwives who bring new life into the world and her role for the souls who are leaving.

cancer about 18 months ago, Linda Jane was able to be by her side.

Linda pictured as a baby with her late mum Myra McCurrach, who she was able to be with at her death

She said: “I couldn’t imagine my mum not having someone there. I thought, ‘What would it be like for someone to be on their own?’ It really struck home that I can help people going through this alone.”

Linda Jane has now launched a charity called No One Dies Alone Ayrshire.

For those who are alone, it aims to provide companions in the last 48 hours of life. It also offers respite for those with families.

Companions will offer support at home, in care homes, in hospital and hospices and will enable people to die according to their wishes.

The charity has started its work in East Ayrshire with plans to expand into the rest of the county.

Linda Jane, 48, has five children – Jordan, 23, Lewis, 22, Kai, 17, Nathan, 15 and Freya, eight – and lives near Newmilns in Ayrshire.

Having had difficult experiences and relationship break-ups, she said death puts everything else into perspective.

She added: “You have a greater sense of what’s important.”

The hardest part of her role is when people open up to her in their final days.

She said: “It can be hard to then move back into a normal life. But I surround myself with the right people who help me with that.”

She remembers the first time she sat with someone who was dying.

Linda Jane said: “I was concerned with doing everything right. It wasn’t until the end I realised it’s not really about the stuff you know and the things you can do, it’s about being there.

“Death is individual. It’s not scary. But if the person is feeling a bit scared, you can be a loving presence to help them get through.”

She said the dying want to know what’s happening to them.

Linda’s beloved mum Myra McCurrach who died from cancer 18 months ago

Linda Jane added: “People want to know the process. It’s not commonly spoken about.”

She also helps them make peace with the world.

“Ultimately, death is the major letting go in our lives,” she said. “We have to let go of everything and it starts with letting go of the past.

“Sometimes they need to get things off their chest or make amends with family members and things weighing heavily with them.

“And everybody wants to know where they’re going to go afterwards. Having a visualisation of somewhere they would like to go really helps with that, for instance a meadow full of bluebells.”

Although she’s less scared of dying herself now, Linda Jane said she wouldn’t want to leave her children yet.

She added: “I think hopefully by the time I die, I’ll be ready. I know death can be positive and beautiful.”

Complete Article HERE!

Washington passes bill to become first state to compost human bodies

“We’re making about a cubic yard of soil per person,” the founder of the company Recompose said.

Finished materials from the human-body composting process.

By Ben Guarino

It may soon be legal for the dead to push daisies, or any other flower, in backyard gardens across Washington state. The state legislature recently passed a bill that, if signed by the governor, allows human bodies to be composted — and used for mulch.

As the nation ages, U.S. funeral practices are changing. Rates of cremation surpassed 50 percent in 2016, overtaking burials as the most popular choice. The Census Bureau, in a 2017 report, predicted a death boom: 1 million more Americans are projected to die in 2037 than they did in 2015. Human composting, its supporters say, is an eco-friendly option that can meet this growing demand. A Seattle-based company called Recompose plans to offer a service called “natural organic reduction” (it has two patents pending) that uses microbes to transform the departed — skin, bones and all.

“We have this one universal human experience, of death, and technology has not changed what we do in any meaningful way,” said state Sen. Jamie Pedersen (D), who introduced the bill, which passed with bipartisan support on April 19. “There are significant environmental problems” with burying and burning bodies, he said.

Joshua Trey Barnett, an expert on ecological communication at the University of Minnesota at Duluth, listed the flaws in conventional burials: “We embalm bodies with toxic solutions, bury them in expensive caskets made of precious woods and metals and then indefinitely commit them to a plot of land.” Though incineration has a smaller ecological footprint, estimates suggest the average cremated body emits roughly 40 pounds of carbon and requires nearly 30 gallons of fuel to burn.

The bill awaits Gov. Jay Inslee (D), who placed climate change at the center of the presidential bid he announced in March. “The bill passed the legislature with bipartisan support and appears to be eco-friendly,” said Tara Lee, a spokeswoman in Inslee’s office. Inslee has 20 days to review the bill, which arrived on his desk Thursday. “He has not stated how he will act on this,” Lee said.

Burial practices are largely matters of state, not federal, law. The bill, which would take effect on May 1, 2020, also would legalize alkaline hydrolysis. That method turns bodies to liquid using a base such as lye. In the past decade, more than a dozen states have approved it.

Pedersen said he would be “shocked, frankly,” if the governor did not sign the bill into law.

Recompose founder Katrina Spade met Pedersen in a Seattle coffee shop last year and pitched the idea of legalizing human composting. The company’s system, she said, is a souped-up version of natural microbial decomposition. “It is actually the same process happening on the forest floor as leaf litter, chipmunks and tree branches decompose and turn into topsoil,” Spade said

The company’s service, which would include a funeral ceremony, will cost about $5,500, she said (more than the average cremation but less than burial in a casket). Microbes go to work within a large vessel, about eight feet tall and four feet wide, that fits a single body along with alfalfa, straw and wood chips. Over the course of 30 days, as temperatures in the vessel rise to 150 degrees, decomposition destroys the body, along with most pathogens and pharmaceuticals, Spade said.

Pacemakers would be removed beforehand; artificial joints or other implants sifted out afterward. “We’re making about a cubic yard of soil per person,” Spade said. Families would be allowed to take the compost home, or, because it’s a lot of soil, donate it to conservation groups in the Puget Sound region. Restrictions on where the soil could be applied would mirror rules for scattering ashes — broadly speaking, only on land with an owner’s permission.

The decomposition technique “is now a fairly common procedure” used to dispose of livestock carcasses, said Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, a soil scientist at Washington State University and an adviser to Recompose. During an outbreak of avian flu, Carpenter-Boggs helped farmers implement a similar method to destroy potentially infected poultry.

Carpenter-Boggs recently oversaw a pilot study in which Recompose composted six donated cadavers. The results are still unpublished, but Recompose claimed in a news release the soil met safety thresholds set by the state’s ecology department.

“The material we had, at the end, was really lovely,” Carpenter-Boggs said. “I’d be happy to have it in my yard.”

Barnett said the media often inflates the “ick factor” of human composting. “Very few people I talk with have this response,” he said. He added: “If most folks knew the ins and outs of embalming, I suspect they would find it much ickier in fact than composting

Spade said she has been deluged by emails from those who want to be composted, with particularly enthusiastic correspondents from California, Colorado and Vermont, and overseas from Brazil, the Netherlands and Australia.

“I have a few friends at some of the assisted-living facilities here in Seattle,” Spade said, “and these folks are in their mid-80s saying: ‘Look, we want these options. … We care about the last gesture we leave on this earth.’ ”

Complete Article HERE!