This article is very interesting because it brings to print some newer options in after death care.
First, is home funerals.
Home funerals are gaining in popularity (although this is not for everyone).
There can be great comfort for family and friends in having a loved one at home where family can come and go as they are comfortable with.
Of course, there are many things one has to do for the loved one if having a home funeral......I'll write about this at a later date.
Second, taking photographs of the dead. Morbid? Not necessarily.
We take photos of everything ~ why wouldn't we take photos of our loved ones when they are dead.
Photos help us to connect with past experiences and they can also help us to remember and heal.
"If we are more familiar with the deaths of strangers, their violent ends captured by photojournalists, maybe that’s because the deaths of our intimates have been at a remove for so long".
Third, posting on social media.
I am not a social media person, so Im am not neutral on this subject.
However, this article does provide some interesting thoughts to ponder.
Attached is a TEDxTufts Talk, by Isabel Merrin, a college student talking about death.
Its very interesting that Isabel is willing to confront our societies inabilities to speak openly about death and dying. Hopefully by watching the video, you too, will be willing to dig deep into your soul and know that there is a better way to "Do Death Differently".
A Necessary Conversation can help you to explore End Of Life matters and to empower yourself with knowledge, so that you can begin to enrich your relationships with friends and loved ones.
Lets not continue to avoid one of the few 100% Guarantees in life.
This is a worth while article, showing that there is a fear of "having conversations about death and dying".
However, working together, we can get you to feel more comfortable and empowered when having “A Necessary Conversation” with friends and loved ones.
According to the article by Anita Singh, published 2015, a poll of 2,198 adults whose loved ones has died within the past year, found that 83% of these adults had been given parting words of wisdom by the deceased.
This article states that the reason why words of wisdom are given on the deathbed, is because the dying wants those they love, to be happy.
Isn't this interesting~ Is the dying stating the obvious - to be happy, live in the moment and don't have regrets?
If this kind of advice is often given, what can we learn from it?
Have you received words of wisdom from a dying person?
What kinds of wisdom would you want to impart if you were dying?
Ask yourself, why can't you take these pearls of wisdom and integrate them into your life currently?
You can! LIVE DEATH AWARE!
"It is one of the most vexing chapters of old age: how to navigate not just the inevitable ending, but the days and months immediately before it. As the bonds of support and dependency change, how do we tell our children that it is O.K. to say goodbye? And how do we tell our parents that it is O.K. to go"?
The conversation between adult children and aging parents is often difficult, especially for the adult children.
“There’s almost a superstition where if I don’t discuss it, it won’t happen. Or discussing it is depressing. A lot of times older people will say to me, ‘I’ve been trying to have this planning you talk about, but my kids don’t want to discuss it.’ So the parents are bringing up something relevant to their life, and the kids are saying, ‘I can’t deal with it.’ They’re making it about them, not their parents. And that actually leads to huge problems.”
Let's make a plan to start speaking with the elders in our life. Chances are, they may be ready to talk.
Be present, leave your ideas and judgements behind and just listen to the dying. These conversations will do everyone good.
It is very common for the dying patient and their families to not talk about death. No one wants to diminish hope for the dying.
According to the attached article, "Family members worried that bringing up the subject (death) would destroy hope. Residents thought they should protect their families from thinking about their death".
Would you talk to your loved ones about dying and death?
Does it help the situation to avoid talking about death?
What are the pros of talking about death?
What are the cons of not talking about death?
This article is about an end-of-life treatment, called Dignity Therapy, that was created by a man named Harvey Chochinov.
Dignity Therapy offers patients various ways to reflect on their lives, whether is through a "Patients Narrative, Re-writing a Life or an Urgency to Change"
Chochinov found that what people fowler uncomfortable with the idea that who they were would completely cease to exist after their death.... "If the idea of having something that will outlast even you matters for patients that are near the end of life, then we need to do something that will create something that will last beyond ... the patient," he says.
Each of these processes allow the patient to be remembered the way they want to be remembered.
How do you want to be remembered?
Start being proactive and take the actions that are important to you now, so that you do not have to wait to be on your deathbed to rewrite your life.
What is an End-of-Life Doula? It can be many things, but I love what Deanna Cochran says in this article...
"Above all, it’s a healing role. End-of-life companions can help relax a traumatic situation by allowing those involved to feel loved, and heard.”
I learned first hand from Deanna how EOL companions can help in various ways. Each EOL Doula brings their individual gifts to the situation, all with the willingness to be of services to the dying, and their families.
Read more below.
Kathleen Taylor gives a TEDx Talk about how she found that most people, towards the end of their lives, revise their bucket list to:
changing their minds
apologize, forgive, etc...
finding joy in the smallest moments.
In this TEDx talk, Taylor urges one not to wait until they are at the end of their lives to find the true selves.
Start working now on your revised bucket list.
I've talked about Living Death Aware, which is different from what Angela Morrow, RN, writes about The Phenomena Of Nearing Death Awareness.
Angela shares that the dying person is "aware that death is near".
"This is a special knowledge that a dying person has that death is near. Often times this awareness is overlooked
by the patient's loved ones and health care providers and may even be mistaken for delirium or terminal
Learning to speak openly, before death and dying occurs, can help to support, and to comfort, the dying persons process as serenely as possible.
Knowledge is the key to gaining understanding what dying may look like, and what is needed to achieve a peaceful death.
Are you ready to learn more about being Death Aware?
According to an article published by Harvard Medical School, they have found that gratitude can make a big difference in how we perceive our lives.
"Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can't feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice".
Take the time to discover what you can be grateful for and start spreading happiness in the world.
Margaret Renkl, NYT, writes about how the month of November seems to be a mournful time to her.
"November reminds us that the membrane between life and death is permeable, an endless back and forth that makes something of everything, no matter how small, no matter how temporary"
I too, feel that "this dark season" gives each of us the opportunity to slow down our daily activities, so that we can get in touch with what is important.
Take some time this season so quiet yourself, to become aware of immortality, so that you can life more fully.
Let's work together to remove the fear so that you can live more freely today.
"Don’t experience the tragedy of getting to the end of your life before you discover what life is really all about!"
writes Dave Willis.
How true the above is ~ don't wait for a crisis to reconnect, repair and reinvest in your important relationships.
Take the opportunity now, to nurture what is truly important to you.
Discover your own path on how to make your relationships right ~ as there are many ways to do so. This article is just one opinion, and it may or may not, speak to you. However, don't miss the message of deathbed regrets.
Below are 4 regrets from the deathbed that speak to enriching your relationships now.
4. “I wish I would have been a better husband or wife.”
5. “I wish I would have been a better Mom or Dad.”
6. “I wish I would have been a better friend.”
7. “I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time!”
Take the opportunity to enrich your relationships!
The article, written by Judith Johnson, speaks to the price we pay, as individuals and a society, for our "silence" regarding death and dying.
"Other societies educate their members about the reality of death and the processes of dying and grieving.
We do not. We are left to figure it out for ourselves, relying on doctors and funeral directors to tell us what to do once we are face to face with death".
Why is it that some of us chose to "delegate" these important life, and end of life, decisions to others? Why would we want to put this added pressure on to those we love and care about?
Do you want others to make EOL choices for you?
What if the choices made on your behalf that do not represent you and your values?
What if, life altering decisions are avoided, because no one is truly clear on your wishes?
These, plus many more questions, show why it is so important to start discussing death and dying now.
It's imperative that we start to have A Necessary Conversation while we are still healthy.
Take the opportunity to begin exploring, empowering and enriching your own personal journey.
The attached article is a bit dry (and a bit boring) to read. However, I do find it fascinating that the NCBI (The National Center for Biotechnology Information) is providing funding to address the barriers in providing compassionate care of the dying. Shouldn't we all expect to receive compassionate care at the end of life?
This article speaks about "the medical, social and economic impediments, that include: changes in the trajectory of dying," For most folks in America, talking openly about death, dying and grief, is very uncomfortable, and some people even feel this kind of talk is not needed, at this time.
However, if we do not want to experience the "impediments" that a lot of people are experiencing in End of Life, then "we" need to start having A Necessary Conversation now.
Be the change to experience death differently, and join the community to "Live Death Aware"!
,The psychiatrist, William Breitbart, whom specializes in end of life care for terminally ill patients, states the most pressing questions, addressed in the dying, is what makes their life meaningful.
Breitbart states, that the time between diagnosis and death, can present an opportunity for “extraordinary growth" ~
To search for meaning
To create meaning
To experience meaning in life.
Why wait until you have a life threatening disease, or are naturally nearing the end of life, to find your meaning?
Take the time, NOW ~
To find your truth and to experience joy and happiness in the moment.
Why do we avoid talking about death?
Death has become the ultimate Elephant In The Room.
What happens to us when we avoid talking about death, dying and grief?
Do we become more fearful of it?
Do we push our feelings down?
Do we have a backstory of what End of Life looks like, or should look like?
How do we treat people that are experiencing grief due to the death of a loved one?
Do we start to avoid that person, after a period of time, because society has told us its time to "move on"?
The quick read (attached), by Terry Kettering, puts in simple words just how much we "avoid" the elephant in the room.
Let's change our avoidance and start working through our emotions around death, dying and grief.
"We need to come out of the bubble of denial, because we are suffering"
We are a society that deeply denies death. No one likes to speak out it. It is taboo.
Doctors have a hard time discussing death.
Family members often pretend that their loved one is not dying.
Emotions are not spoken about.
Most folks don't have an "End of Life Plan, detailing wishes and wants.
Grief is complicated, and even isolating, because as a society, we don't know how to engage with people that are in grief.
All of the above, situations plus many more issues around death, dying and grief, continue to add our extended suffering because we deny death. Denying anything that is a 100% guaranteed is mind-boggling.
Be willing to engage in the "3-E's" (see the "Services" tab at the top of this webpage) and start normalizing death!
This article was first published in June 2018, and this movement is continuing to gain more awareness and attention.
The Death Positive Movements is for those of us whom want to break the taboos around discussions of death. Death is a natural, normal, part of life, so let's stop pretending it is not.
I love how Ellen Goodman (The Conversation Project) likened the death-positive movement to the earlier movement for natural childbirth. “Birth was perceived as a medical event, and then in came the women’s movement and ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves,’” she said. “It wasn’t doctors who changed the way we give birth in America. It was women who said that giving birth was a human event. I think that we’re trying to do that now. Dying is a human experience. We’re trying to put the person back into the center of the experience.”
Let's work together to change the way you think, and act, towards death. Let's reclaim your power!
For most of us, this particular date continues to conjure up specific memories and images of this tragic day.
Each year, to relive these remembrances, can be so difficult.
As hard as this day is to recall, I feel it is important, for me, to pay homage (even if I do so silently) to all whom have been affected by this historic event. I recall watching everyday people became extraordinary heroes that day ~ they showed incredible courage, by putting the greater good of others, before themselves.
All of these remarkable individuals, continue to remind me of what is the best trait of being a human being.
I can only hope that as a society, we will continue to honor all of those whom sacrificed so dearly, by returning to the best traits of being a human being.
,Ellen Goodman talks about the "Denial Hall of Fame" and how she lost a chance to say goodbye to her loved one.
"Death Denial" is part of the American culture. Most people do not want to talk about, or even acknowledge that death will happen to each of us. This denial, creates an atmosphere of missing moments of opportunity, to connect more deeply with our friends, family and loved ones.
Ellen writes about the difference between a good and a hard death. This difference, Ellen finds, hinges on whether a loved ones wishes are expressed and respected. However, if we do not talk openly with our friends and family about our wishes, how can they ever be respected and followed through on?
Together, we can start working now on having these conversations, long before the chaos and/or the illness, occur.
Most of us do everything we can do to avoid thinking, or talking about death, dying and grief.
However, Death is a "100%-guaranteed" life event.
How many other "100%-guaranteed" life events are there?
What would happen if we chose to avoid events that made us nervous in life?
Would we grow emotionally, spiritually or physically?
Would we be depriving our selves of the experiences of exploring unchartered territories?
Would we be cultivating more fear and terror about an event that we purposely pushed to the side?
What are the possibilities of growing emotionally and spiritually,
IF we took the opportunity to discover and explore End of Life matters?
IF we took the leap of faith, pushed aside the anxiety, and explored, empowered and enriched your life and
**"In the article "Death Is the Roommate of Life", talks about how death is always around us, it's always present.
The presence of Death can have an editing ability in that death can guide much of what we do, and don't do in life.
Death guides us to what's important in life, and how and with whom, we want to spend our time.
Has death brought any insights to you?
If one talks about death, does it invite "it" into your life?
When I was young, I was always very fascinated by death.
However, I intuitively knew that I shouldn't talk about it.
How did I know this? I have no idea, as no one ever said "Dee Dee, DO NOT talk about death".
I just knew that death was not a good topic to talk about at the dinner table....or any where else.
Even though I didn't talk about death with others, I certainly thought about it a lot.
I remember chastising myself for being morbid - or surely insane!
Why would a "normal child" think about death?
When death is present, most folks talk quietly, nod with compassion, give sweet and sad hugs.....and then
we disappear back in to the safety of normal life.
One certainly does not bring death willingly into ones world. Only crazy people do that, right?
It wasn't until dozens of years later that I came to the realization that death was a part of life! Profound.
However, society pretends that death is not hanging around.
Even if death is not an immediate part of ones life, it is all around us - movies, news, music, novels, tv etc.
In fact, we as a society have a very strange, and detached view of death.
The view is that death is "out there somewhere". We do not encourage it to come to our home.
What would happen if we chose to invite the conversation about death in?
** The attached article is about John O'Donohue, whom is an Irish priest, philosopher and poet.
In this article he says...."A deathbed is the loveliest place to be if you're helping someone to die who has really lived" . Hence, live life well to die well.
More importantly, John O'Donohue believes that we can all transform our fear of death, and this transformation will enable us to fear little else.
Death, dying and grief can be very uncomfortable subjects to speak about.
If we chose to not have these conversations, we deny ourselves the ability to explore a major part of life, which is called death .
Ask yourself -
Is death avoidable?
By denying death, are you emotionally prepared for death?
If you avoid talking about death, will this help or hurt you emotionally when you meet death?
If you chose not to explore death, how will this affect how you when someone close to you dies?
Death awareness is not a morbid subject to me. It is the exact opposite. It is about living life now.
Death awareness is a journey for me. When I am death aware, I am life aware.
This, to me, is what "Life exploring Death" is all about.
Learning to acknowledge, and appreciate ,that life and death are just opposite sides of the same coin.
Incorporate The 3-E's and explore, empower and enrich your life and death journey.
**The attached article shares that the Dalai Lama believes that if you are not "aware of death, you will fail to take advantage of this special human life you have already attained".