Millennials Aren’t Killing the Funeral Industry

— But It is Changing

By Heather Morrison

We haven’t figured out immortality, so it’s important to discuss the inevitable.

In 1997, The Onion published the article, “World Death Rate Holding Steady at 100 Percent.”

While immortality is a quest for lots of fictional characters — like Voldemort and the Cullens from “Twilight” — and a few Silicon Valley elites like Jeff Bezos, that headline from The Onion still holds true more than two decades later.

Duh. Everybody dies.

But a lingering taboo around death in the U.S. makes it hard to talk about. People in and around the funeral industry are hoping to change that.

“Talking about sex is not going to get you pregnant, and talking about death is not going to kill you,” said Darren Crouch, founder and president of Passages International Inc.

Not only are we not talking about death, we’re also trying not to think about it. Only 1 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds plan their own funeral before experiencing the death of a loved one. That number jumps to nearly 20 percent following the death of a loved one, according to CJP Field.

The Green Burial Council’s Holly Chan, 24, thinks it’s time for everyone to start talking about and planning for the inevitable.

At the end of October, she’s hosting a talk called “Death over Dim Sum” at the Reimagine End of Life festival in San Francisco that’s bringing together end-of-life experts and Asian Americans of all ages.

“Age doesn’t really change how much contact you have with death,” she said. “We could die at any time.”

Family members aren’t any better off not having discussed the wishes of a deceased loved one, she said. Instead, they’re often left with uncertainty and an expensive funeral.

“I think this conversation is relevant at any time,” she said, adding that it’s OK to change your idea of what your funeral might look like as your life changes.

Death influencers?

Caitlin Doughty runs the YouTube account Ask A Mortician, which has more than 900,000 subscribers. She vlogs about topics like budget-friendly funeral options, new types of caskets and scams within the funeral industry. She also talks about death positivity.

“Do not beat yourself up over where you are in your journey to accept death,” Doughty said in a video called “7 Habits of Highly Effective Death Positive People.”

“Yeah, there’s a lot about death that sucks,” she continued. “It’s OK to feel bad about death.”

But death is a journey that isn’t going away. It’s time to get comfy with it, she says.

Death doulas are trying to spread the same message by posting about their work on Instagram.

A doula is traditionally someone trained to support and comfort pregnant people and their partners during the pregnancy and birth process. Now, the same idea is being used in end-of-life care.

Chan has found comfort in the growing number of people on Instagram talking about the job of a death doula. She hopes it will bring more attention to the topic of death and dying and spark conversation.

Social media is already shifting some long-held taboos around death, said intergenerational expert Henry Rose Lee.

“Social media has removed many taboos about what can be seen, shared and discussed,” she said.

Younger generations are trying to confront topics that have been impolite to talk about in the past.

“Millennials don’t want to die any more than any other generation,” Lee said. They’re just “embracing the need to discuss quite tough subjects, like death.”

[ICYMI: We Asked a Mortician About the Death-Positive Movement, and This is What She Said]

Fireworks at a funeral

As more people talk about death, more people are moving away from the “traditional funeral” — the kind with a funeral home, casket and everyone standing around in black.

In the same way people are personalizing their wedding ceremonies more and more, people are wanting the same for their funerals, Lee said.

“I have even talked to some millennials who are planning a band or performers of some kind,” she said. “Many see the funeral as a chance to celebrate.”

Chan has heard people planning on an end of life celebration before they die, with firework displays, motorcycles and games.

Lee points out that all this can be done in addition to any traditions, religious or otherwise, you want to include.

“Religion does still have an impact on decisions about funerals and death,” she said.

However, nearly four in 10 adults ages 18 to 29 are religiously unaffiliated. And they are four times more likely as those a generation ago to identify that way, according to a study by the Public Religion Research Institute.

Due to that shift, “it is likely that, in the decades to come, millennials may move away from some of the older traditions,” Lee said. “Time will tell.”

Green burials aren’t just a fad

One of the biggest movements in the funeral industry is green funerals, including more environmentally friendly burial options.

In 2018, nearly 54 percent of Americans were considering a green burial, according to a survey released by the National Funeral Directors Association.

“Green burial is for everybody,” said Lee Webster of the Green Burial Council.

Traditional burial methods — like being embalmed and buried in a metal casket — take a toll on the environment. Green burial uses biodegradable plain wooden caskets, shrouds, tree pods or coral reefs. And the options are expanding.

One family Crouch talked to put a family member’s remains in a biodegradable turtle-shaped urn. They dropped the urn into the sea. A real-life turtle swam up next to it, he said.

“It’s very, very powerful,” he said. “That family is never going to forget that service.”

Though millennials are carrying on the push for greener funerals, boomers actually originated the idea. They were concerned about the land, what we were putting in it and how to conserve it, Webster said. It wasn’t a climate change issue then — but now it is.

“People are living greener and it would be an obvious extension that they may expect to die greener,” Crouch said. “The problem is the industry has been very slow to change.”

But millennials are normalizing the conversation around green burials, “and then everybody follows,” Webster said.

Textbook for the modern funeral director

The gap between what people want and what funeral homes currently offer means a person’s funeral might not line up with how they lived their life.

“The industry is so used to doing the cookie-cutter funeral,” Crouch said. “Even though they may have driven a hybrid vehicle, maybe they were avid gardeners, maybe they were environmentalists, it’s not uncommon for that person to be embalmed and buried in a metal casket.”

Webster literally wrote the textbook on potential solutions to this problem. Now mortuary school students are learning about environmentally friendly burials.

It’s in the best interest of funeral homes to start adapting to what people want, Crouch said. As more and more options become available, think about how you’d want to be celebrated and buried.

Washington just became the first state to allow “human composting” as a burial method. Who knows what could be next.

“There are a lot of unique things on the horizon,” Crouch said. “Some of them may or may not be practical.”

But, he said, the modern funeral director should listen to what was important to the person in life and present the family with all their options — not just what’s been done in the past.

Complete Article HERE!

Anger, sadness dominate day of mourning for homeless people who died in L.A. this year

Pancake, a community organizer, leads supporters as they march in downtown Los Angeles in tribute to homeless who died this year.

By Gale Holland

A joyous New Orleans-style Second Line parade to honor the roughly 1,000 homeless people who have died in Los Angeles County this year turned to anger on Friday, as skid row mourners stopped at City Hall to denounce elected officials for not halting the growing death toll.

Dozens of skid row residents and advocates, all decked out in Mardi Gras beads and flying black, gold and purple balloons, chanted: “Three a day! Too many!” They waved their fists at the windows of City Hall, where a homeless man in his 50s was found dead Tuesday night.

The parade and angry demonstration were part of National Homeless Persons Memorial Day, marked in dozens of cities.

Lorraine Morland speaks and sings to a crowd of supporters gathered outside City Hall to pay tribute to homeless people who have died this year in Los Angeles.

L.A.’s day of mourning began soberly at the James Wood Community Center with prayers, songs and the traditional recitation of the names of all people who died at skid row missions and programs. Later, advocates planned to release candles at Echo Park Lake, where dozens of people have been living and dying in tents over the past year.

The Los Angeles County Public Health found in October that deaths among homeless people have increased each year, from 536 in 2013 to 1,047 in 2018. The tally so far this year is 963, they said.

Pete White of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, the parade organizer, accused City Atty. Mike Feuer of hypocrisy for expressing sadness over the homeless man who died outside City Hall, the same week the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a landmark homelessness case that curbs police powers to clear homeless encampments when there aren’t enough shelter beds available.

Feuer and officials from several other cities and counties across California had asked the high court to either clarify or overturn the lower court ruling in City of Boise vs. Martin.

“The city attorney had the audacity to hold a press conference [about the death] … when, days before, his office was trying to figure out how to criminalize that man,” White said.

Rob Wilcox, the city attorney spokesman, said Feuer wanted the court to clarify the Boise ruling, not to extend police powers over homeless people.

Feuer announced the man’s death at a press conference on Wednesday morning.

“He was someone’s son. He might’ve been somebody’s dad or somebody’s brother,” Feuer said. “I don’t know. But I do know that he died alone, and if there is any truth to statistics, he is not alone.”

The first parade to mark National Homeless Persons Memorial Day took off at noon Friday from San Julian Park, accompanied by drums, a trumpet, a keyboard, bicycles festooned with beads and Christmas garlands, and a giant banner that included photos of skid row residents who had died. It was labeled “Death by neglect” and contained a dot map of every homeless death site in Los Angeles County in the past year.

Several singers led the crowd in “Wade in the Water” and other civil rights anthems. Stephanie Arnold Williams, a longtime skid row advocate, sped around the crowd in red sequined skates, live streaming the parade on Facebook from a solar-powered tablet strapped to her back.

“When death comes to the doorstep of City Hall, you know we must respond,” White said. “We are going to set up shrines to show our people didn’t die in vain.”

Several of the dead were remembered by name, including Rodney Evans, who died on skid row waiting to get housing.

The parade eventually returned to the skid row corner where Dwayne Fields, a longtime skid row street musician, was killed in August when his tent was set on fire in what authorities said was an intentional act.

A memorial sits Friday at the site where homeless man Darrel Fields was set on fire and died.

Jonathan Early, 38, who also was homeless, has been charged in Fields’ death. The death — and that of his partner, Valarie Wertlow, a month later — underscores the stakes in the epidemic of homeless deaths.

“Fields was a Jimi Hendrix impersonator in Las Vegas, and he was a better guitarist than Jimi Hendrix,” Anderson said. “It’s like genius is being snuffed out. This is all of our fight.”

In Echo Lake Park, homeless advocates place floating candles containing the names of homeless people who have died.

Complete Article HERE!

The Story Behind Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”

Along with a stirring reading of the masterpiece by the poet himself.

Dylan Thomas, early 1940s.

By Maria Popova

“Poetry can break open locked chambers of possibility, restore numbed zones to feeling, recharge desire,” Adrienne Rich wrote in contemplating what poetry does. “Insofar as poetry has a social function it is to awaken sleepers by other means than shock,” Denise Levertov asserted in her piercing statement on poetics. Few poems furnish such a wakeful breaking open of possibility more powerfully than “Do not go gentle into that good night” — a rapturous ode to the unassailable tenacity of the human spirit by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (October 27, 1914–November 9, 1953).

Written in 1947, Thomas’s masterpiece was published for the first time in the Italian literary journal Botteghe Oscure in 1951 and soon included in his 1952 poetry collection In Country Sleep, And Other Poems. In the fall of the following year, Thomas — a self-described “roistering, drunken and doomed poet” — drank himself into a coma while on a reading and lecture tour in America organized by the American poet and literary critic John Brinnin, who would later become his biographer of sorts. That spring, Brinnin had famously asked his assistant, Liz Reitell — who had had a three-week romance with Thomas — to lock the poet into a room in order to meet a deadline for the completion of his radio drama turned stage play Under Milk Wood.

In early November of 1953, as New York suffered a burst of air pollution that exacerbated his chronic chest illness, Thomas succumbed to a round of particularly heavy drinking. When he fell ill, Reitell and her doctor attempted to manage his symptoms, but he deteriorated rapidly. At midnight on November 5, an ambulance took the comatose Thomas to St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York. His wife, Caitlin Macnamara, flew from England and spun into a drunken rage upon arriving at the hospital where the poet lay dying. After threatening to kill Brinnin, she was put into a straitjacket and committed to a private psychiatric rehab facility.

When Thomas died at noon on November 9, it fell on New Directions founder James Laughlin to identify the poet’s body at the morgue. Just a few weeks later, New Directions published The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas (public library), containing the work Thomas himself had considered most representative of his voice as a poet and, now, of his legacy — a legacy that has continued to influence generations of writers, artists, and creative mavericks: Bob Dylan changed his last name from Zimmerman in an homage to the poet, The Beatles drew his likeness onto the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Christopher Nolan made “Do not go gentle into that good night” a narrative centerpiece of his film Interstellar.

Upon receiving news of Thomas’s death, the poet Elizabeth Bishop wrote in an astonished letter to a friend:

It must be true, but I still can’t believe it — even if I felt during the brief time I knew him that he was headed that way… Thomas’s poetry is so narrow — just a straight conduit between birth & death, I suppose—with not much space for living along the way.

In another letter to her friend Marianne Moore, Bishop further crystallized Thomas’s singular genius:

I have been very saddened, as I suppose so many people have, by Dylan Thomas’s death… He had an amazing gift for a kind of naked communication that makes a lot of poetry look like translation.

The Pulitzer-winning Irish poet and New Yorker poetry editor Paul Muldoon writes in the 2010 edition of The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas:

Dylan Thomas is that rare thing, a poet who has it in him to allow us, particularly those of us who are coming to poetry for the first time, to believe that poetry might not only be vital in itself but also of some value to us in our day-to-day lives. It’s no accident, surely, that Dylan Thomas’s “Do not go gentle into that good night” is a poem which is read at two out of every three funerals. We respond to the sense in that poem, as in so many others, that the verse engine is so turbocharged and the fuel of such high octane that there’s a distinct likelihood of the equivalent of vertical liftoff. Dylan Thomas’s poems allow us to believe that we may be transported, and that belief is itself transporting.

“Do not go gentle into that good night” remains, indeed, Thomas’s best known and most beloved poem, as well as his most redemptive — both in its universal message and in the particular circumstances of how it came to be in the context of Thomas’s life.

By the mid-1940s, having just survived World War II, Thomas, his wife, and their newborn daughter were living in barely survivable penury. In the hope of securing a steady income, Thomas agreed to write and record a series of broadcasts for the BBC. His sonorous voice enchanted the radio public. Between 1945 and 1948, he was commissioned to make more than one hundred such broadcasts, ranging from poetry readings to literary discussions and cultural critiques — work that precipitated a surge of opportunities for Thomas and adrenalized his career as a poet.

At the height of his radio celebrity, Thomas began working on “Do not go gentle into that good night.” Perhaps because his broadcasting experience had attuned his inner ear to his outer ear and instilled in him an even keener sense of the rhythmic sonority of the spoken word, he wrote a poem tenfold more powerful when channeled through the human voice than when read in the contemplative silence of the mind’s eye.

In this rare recording, Thomas himself brings his masterpiece to life:

Complete Article HERE!

Teens Talk About Grief

In grief, things that don’t normally bug you can bring on strong feelings – anger, resentment, jealousy. And sometimes you feel guilt that you should have done more, spent more time with him or her, or just said ‘I love you’ one more time.

How Friendship Changes at the End of Life

“People become frightened at the end of life. Sometimes I see them moving away from friends as they get sicker.”


Julie Beck talks with two women who met through the nontheistic religion of Ethical Culture and have spent a significant amount of time ministering to aging and dying members of their congregation. They discuss how friendship changes at the end of life, and how they work to foster connection and community for members of all ages.

The Friends:

Anne Klaeysen, 68, a recently retired clergy leader for the New York Society for Ethical Culture and a humanist chaplain at New York University. She lives in Brooklyn.
Liz Singer, 71, a geriatric-care manager and the president of the New York Society for Ethical Culture. She lives in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Julie Beck: How did you two meet and begin ministering to the dying together?

Anne Klaeysen: Liz became a member of the New York society maybe seven years ago. I am always at the monthly newcomer reception, so we met there. She just dove right in, and shortly became the president of the board. I have to confess, Liz, I get a little worried when people dive in so quickly. I’m thinking, Oh dear, is she going to drown? Liz did not drown; she’s a strong swimmer. Liz came at a time when we really needed strong leadership. And she wasn’t afraid to take on a couple of the old boys. So I think there was certainly a feminist bond there. [We became] partners in crime, or [rather] partners in good works.strong>Liz Singer: We have a strong aging population. I think 30 percent of our members are probably over 70. And we started to see things like dementia. As Anne and I developed our friendship, we began having conversations on the very delicate process of aging and navigating our roles with the members.

Anne: Liz is a geriatric-care manager. Her expertise in this field was invaluable, but I was a little concerned because I didn’t want to take advantage of her. Members don’t mean to take advantage, but sometimes they do.

Also, our members are humanists. We’re a nontheistic religion of ethics. So most of our members don’t believe in a supernatural deity, nor in an afterlife. And they’re fiercely independent. One of our challenges has been to get them to tell us when they’re going through something. Very often we find out about things after they’re in the hospital. It’s not that they don’t trust us; they have a real fear of losing their dignity.

Another society member, Barbara Simpson, runs something called the Death Café. That’s an opportunity for folks to come and really speak about living. We know that we are mortal, and the gift of that is we can live life more completely and in connection with each other. It’s really a joyful experience for [our members]. Barbara has said that very often people are comfortable talking about [mortality], but their children aren’t. [They’ll say], “No, Mom, you’re never going to die; you’re not going to die yet.” People may have their life in order, their papers in order, but their children are in denial.

Anne Klaeysen (left) and Liz Singer (right) sharing a meal together.

Beck: Was there a turning point where you went from having a collegial relationship to more of a friendship?

Liz: The turning point was probably our first serious case, five or six years ago. There was a woman who was estranged from her daughter. Very stubborn. We were trying to bring the daughter back into the picture and make that relationship communicative. Because it was so difficult, Anne and I had to talk about it all the time. The trick was for Anne and I to work together very closely. Anne was having lunch with [the older woman], and gaining her trust. And I was trying to bring in oversight without activating her stubbornness.

Anne: [The woman] left the society for a while because she didn’t get along with people. People didn’t quite come up to her standards. When she came back I was thinking, How can we help her to fit in? How can we help her not be so judgmental? One really good connection was with the children [in our congregation]. I suggested that she come meet with the children, and tell them about her experience. She was a Holocaust survivor; she was on the kindertransport train from Germany to England. I wanted her to be connected with the children, because she was estranged from her own daughter. And she was kind of prickly around some of the adults. The children were so appreciative, and so affectionate with her. They wrote to her when she wasn’t well. They drew her pictures. That’s another thing that a community can do when it’s intergenerational: connect at all ages of one’s life.

Beck: Being with people at the end of life is very intense work. You are regularly seeing a part of life that a lot of people don’t see, or see very rarely. How do you feel that affects your relationships generally and your friendship specifically?

Anne: Generally I have a great appreciation for what the elderly are going through. A big challenge with one of our members was the lack of understanding among hospice and health-care staff for people who are humanists, who don’t believe in God, and don’t believe in an afterlife. It was really difficult for this person when others around her were saying, “Oh, don’t be afraid. God loves you.”

I’ve been on different panels to try to train people not to assume that they are caring for God-fearing people. Just listen to these people. Even when they have dementia. They may not know where they are, they may not remember things, but you’ve got to listen.

Liz: How does it affect my personal life? Number one, it [gives me] an appreciation for life. Number two, I have a reputation when I go to dinner parties. Don’t bring up any questions about aging or I’ll get on a soapbox.

Beck: You mentioned that sometimes you are ministering to people who are your friends, which I imagine is very special, but at the same time could make the balance harder.

Anne: It does. Keeping our work separate from [our personal lives] is a challenge. Where do you draw the line for someone who’s a friend and someone that you’re pastoring to in a professional capacity? But there’s a part of me that wants my life to be integrated. You don’t want to compartmentalize, but you also don’t want to become so involved that you lose perspective. One thing Liz and I do in our friendship is try to help each other keep that balance.

Beck: Is there anything that you’ve observed about how friendship changes at the end of life?

Liz: People become frightened at the end of life. Sometimes I see them moving away from friends as they get sicker. Once people get past that fear of what’s going on, they can be friends again.

Anne: Partly, [what changes is] a sense of loss. My dad died at 101. He was hale and hearty up until the end, and very sound of mind. I remember him saying that all of his friends had died on him. But because he was hard of hearing, it was difficult for him to make new friends. I think a lot of the infirmities that are experienced in advanced age make it difficult to make new friends. Often at the New York society, I see people who become a member after a spouse has died. They’re grateful to have a group of people with whom they can socialize.

I don’t want to sound stereotypical here, but women have been raised to develop those social skills. Men have very often relied on women to do that for them. What we find is that, in the aging population, women are able to cope better. Men who have relied on a spouse or a girlfriend lack those skills. They prefer to have a woman in their lives who can do that for them. That’s the way they were raised. It’s really difficult for them.

Beck: Because of this work, are there things you’re able to talk about with each other that are harder to talk about with your other friends?

Liz: [Anne and I have] skills around dealing with very deep conversations, where a lot of people don’t want to go.

Anne: Of course we’ve also had a lot of challenges in this political atmosphere of, How do you hear somebody with whom you profoundly disagree? We’ve seen that with members who may not be on speaking terms with family or friends. A lot of the work that we do is about—no matter what age somebody is—having respect for human worth, and seeing the other person as a full person.

Liz, you and I had a little rocky time when we weren’t really understanding each other.

Liz: It had to do with some organizational issues at the society. It was very political.

Anne: I thought, I’m going to assume that this is a misunderstanding. We just really need to go back and listen more carefully. What I really appreciated about Liz was that she not only listened to me but she also checked in with other Ethical Culture clergy. I really appreciated not only the deep listening, but also her checking to see, What’s the bigger story here? I think that comes back to being a religion of ethics. Friendships take work. And a lot of people aren’t willing to do that.

Complete Article HERE!

Enough of the euphemisms.

Let’s talk about death openly and honestly

‘To discuss dying, we need to use the language of death. Not, perhaps, with the wit and beauty of Clive James, but with simplicity, describing the process by which each of us will end our lives.’

We no longer feel comfortable naming death, and we’ve lost the etiquette that told us how to support the dying and bereaved


Not for the first time, I find myself playing death-euphemism bingo as TV and radio news bulletins tell us that Clive James has “passed away” after living with leukaemia and Jonathan Miller, who had Alzheimer’s, has “passed on”. Of all the departures from life mentioned in broadcast media over the past few days, it seems the only one with a D-word attached is Gary Lineker’s dog, Snoop. Snoop died.

We are abandoning the language of death. Fear of saying the wrong thing to dying or bereaved people causes friends and family to say nothing, to “talk positive” or to avoid them altogether. Bereaved people frequently talk about others crossing the road to evade them. Mentioning death becomes impolite. Perhaps it’s even becoming rude to die.

But it isn’t only saying the words aloud that has stopped; we avoid considering our own mortality. In the UK, a country with a 100% death rate, only 40% of adults have written a will. Worse, a mere 6% of us have nominated a lasting power of attorney, a person to make medical decisions on our behalf should we become temporarily or permanently unable to do so for ourselves. In other words, we seem to take some action to manage our affairs after death, but we don’t engage in planning for the dying itself. How did this happen? And why does it matter?

As 20th-century medicine transformed our life expectancy, familiarity with death at home was replaced by an expectation that modern medicine would save the lives of those sick enough to die, and return them to health, to work and to family life. The once familiar process of dying became overlooked as hospitals used newly developed drugs, machines and operations to postpone death.

Death itself became a failure to save a life; an unwanted medical outcome; an adverse event. An increasingly secular society drifted from traditional spiritual practices around a deathbed, but found no new rituals to replace them. We no longer feel comfortable naming death, and we have lost the etiquette that told us how to visit the dying and support the bereaved.

But should it be taboo? I have seen that the dying, and the elderly who recognise that their survival is becoming a numbers game, are grateful for an opportunity to discuss their wishes, but people around them are often too uneasy to join the conversation.

Not talking about death won’t prevent dying. I recall an unconscious man in his 90s in a hospital emergency department. With multiple medical problems for years, that day he had collapsed at home and not regained consciousness. “Please do something,” begged his desperate sons.

“What did your dad say he would want to happen, if he was ever sick enough to die?” I asked them. The D-word made them blink. They looked at me like helpless rabbits caught in torchlight. They had never discussed it, they told me.

Then one of them, speaking slowly and looking anxiously at his brothers, said, “Dad did try to talk to me about it last year. I told him to stop being maudlin.” Then, one by one, his brothers described the occasions when they, too, had ducked the conversation when their father had tried to broach it. There were tears.

Their mother saved the day. She and their father had agreed that they would not want intrusive medical treatments. “Let him go, boys,” she told them. There were more tears. And then, as they sat with him around his hospital bed over the next several hours, he died the way humans die: deepening unconsciousness; automatic breathing cycles, fast then slow on repeat; some rattling as his breath bubbled through saliva at the back of his mouth; pauses between breaths. Utterly unaware. Finally, an out-breath that just wasn’t followed by another in-breath. Knowing what to expect allowed his family to recognise and follow his progress through the usual sequence of changes in breathing, helping them not to misinterpret noisy breath sounds as drowning, or distress, or breathlessness. Such misinterpretations haunt people’s bereavements.

That encounter stayed with me for a long time afterwards. We can’t keep explaining the process one family at a time. This is a public health problem: there is a pressing need to address the public (mis)understanding of dying.

To discuss dying we need to use the language of death. Not, perhaps, with the wit and beauty of Clive James, but with simplicity, describing the recognisable process by which each of us will finally end our lives. Dying is not a medical event, but a deeply personal and social experience.

Nobody ever tells me “I wish we had never talked about it”. I have lost count of those who regret not having tried.

Complete Article HERE!

The death doula: helping you prepare for the day you die

By , , , and

What does it mean to have a good death? Leah Green meets with Aly Dickinson, an end-of-life doula. Aly helps clients to plan what they want to happen at the end of their lives, and she accompanies them as they transition from life to death. She helps Leah draw up a death plan, and takes her to a death cafe, where strangers discuss dying over tea and cake