Ep. 150 Die Wise: A Call for Wisdom in the Approach to Death with Stephen Jenkinson

Learn about Stephen’s teachings on death phobia in our society and how palliative care and the medical system fail to address this problem.

PodcastJenkinson

DieWiseIn this episode I share an excerpt from an interview with Stephen Jenkinson, author of the book Die Wise, founder of Orphan Wisdom and subject of the documentary Griefwalker. Stephen discusses some of the problems with our approach to death in modern society, including the medical system.

Learn more about Stephen’s work here.

Get Die Wise here.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Thank you to my latest supporter on Patreon.com/eolu: Bernadette Koch. I appreciate your willingness to contribute to this podcast and the End-of-Life University Series to keep them on the air. If you’d like to join the team, support this work, and get awesome bonuses at the same time, go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more and sign up!

 

obrienwebinar

On July 24th I’m hosting Suzanne O’Brien RN for a free webinar where she’ll be teaching “End-of-Life Doula Training for Caregivers and Volunteers.” If you’d like to know more about the work of end-of-life doulas and learn important skills for caring for the dying, this webinar will be valuable for you.

Learn more at: eoluniversity.com/obrien.

Click here to sign up for the webinar (it’s free and you’ll receive the replay if you can’t attend live.)

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

StephenJenkinson2My guest Stephen Jenkinson is a palliative care consultant, teacher, author and ceremonialist who is “revolutionizing grief and dying in North America.” As the author of Die Wise he teaches that “Dying well is a right and responsibility of everyone.”

Dying well is a right and responsibility of everyone. – Stephen Jenkinson

In this interview we discuss:

  • The origin of death phobia in our society
  • How the fear of non-existence is the greatest fear of most people
  • Why “lost” and “loss” are not helpful terms to use when discussing death
  • The danger of the “fighting illness” mentality of modern medicine
  • Why dying and grief are things that we “do” rather than events that “happen to us”
  • Why palliative care should be dying-centered rather than relief-centered

(This is an excerpt from the interview with Stephen. The full interview can be found at Patreon.com/eolu as a bonus for Platinum level supporters ($5 per month.))

Tune in every Monday for a new episode and if you like this content please share it with others or consider leaving a review on iTunes.

Until next week:

Face Your Fear         BE Ready          Love Your Life

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Ep. 149 How Theatre Can Inspire End-of-Life Awareness with Judith Gantly

Learn about a humorous one-woman play that inspires audiences to discuss their fears about dying and death.

PodcastGantly

JudithgantlysmIn this episode I share an interview from the archives with actress Judith Gantly who presents a one-woman play titled “Waltzing the Reaper.” We discuss the benefits of compelling theatre for inspiring an audience to talk about end-of-life issues.

Learn more about Judith’s work and “Waltzing the Reaper” here.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

suzannebrightOn July 24th I’ll be hosting a free webinar with Suzanne O’Brien RN on End-of-Life Doula Training for Caregivers and Volunteers. She will share the Level I training she offers to community members who want to learn how to care for their families and neighbors at the end of life. There will be a Q&A session with Suzanne following the webinar and you will receive the replay if you can’t attend live. Stay tuned for registration information!

Thank you to my latest supporter on Patreon.com/eolu: Nancy Walker! Your generosity is greatly appreciated. If you’d like to join the team of patrons who are chipping in each month to keep End-of-Life University on the air go to Patreon.com/eolu to sign up and learn about the bonuses you’ll receive as a supporter.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Judith Gantly presents the one-woman play “Waltzing the Reaper” for hospices, medical schools, and communities all around the country. She is available to travel to your event if you would like to incorporate theatre as a way to inspire your community to engage in conversations about dying and death.

You will learn:

  • The story portrayed in Waltzing the Reaper
  • Why theatre is a powerful tool for inspiration
  • How the hearts and minds of the audience members are opened during a live performance on stage
  • Why the content of this play stimulates discussion
  • How audiences come together through the shared experience of viewing a play
  • How to contact Judith about bringing Waltzing the Reaper to your community

View video excerpts from the play, read testimonials, and contact Judith at her website: http://judithgantly.com.

Tune in every Monday for a new episode. If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes.

Until next week…

Face Your Fear          BE Ready            Love Your Life

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Ep. 148 Lessons Learned from Dame Cicely Saunders: Founder of the First Modern Hospice

Learn about the life of Cicely Saunders and what we can discover from her quest to change the way that people died.

 

PodcastSaunders

cicelysaundersyoungIn this episode, recorded just after the celebration of what would have been Cicely Saunder’s 100th birthday, I talk about how she became interested in caring for the dying, what inspired her to create St. Christopher’s Hospice, and what we can learn from her determination to improve care at the end of life.

Read more about the life and work of Dame Cicely Saunders at:

cicelysaundersinternational.org.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

downloads_wordmark_white_on_coralThanks as always to my devoted supporters at Patreon.com/eolu who make small contributions each month to keep this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air. I’m so grateful for your financial, emotional and spiritual support!

If you’d like to join A Year of Reading Dangerously, our online reading group for 2018, there’s still time! Check out the reading list here and start reading along with 1,000 other people around the globe!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Cicely Saunders first began working with dying patients when she was training to be a nurse in the early 1940’s in London. She went on to become an Almoner (medical social worker) and a volunteer nurse at a hospice for the dying poor where she recognized the great need for better pain management and comfort care at the end of life.

When she was told that the medical system would not be interested in her ideas because she wasn’t a physician she accepted the challenge and went to medical school. One revolutionary contribution to end-of-life care was her concept of “Total Pain,” which included emotional and spiritual pain as well as physical.

As a doctor Cicely received a research grant where she studied pain management and wrote many articles. She took “before and after” photos of each patient so that she could show the transformation that occurred when pain was alleviated. Eventually her dream of creating a hospital dedicated to care of the dying was fulfilled when St. Christopher’s Hospice opened 10 years later.

From her story we can take much inspiration for today’s ongoing struggle to improve care at the end of life:

  • Follow your heart – Cicely stayed true to her heart and passion throughout her career as she dedicated herself to care of the dying, even when others discouraged her.
  • Be willing to change course to achieve your dream – Cicely was unable to pursue her original dream of being a nurse after a back injury and shifted to medical social work as a way of continuing her work with dying patients.
  • Be persistent – Cicely’s determination to do whatever it took to bring her dream to fruition led her to become a doctor.
  • Patience is essential – Cicely had to wait for many years to see her dream of a hospice become a reality: first while she studied to be a doctor, then did several years of research, and finally raised the funds to build St. Christopher’s. Change rarely happens overnight so stay the course!
  • Be credible before you can be incredible – Cicely demonstrated this throughout her career as she diligently worked through her own education and her research to gain credibility in the eyes of the medical system she was trying to change
  • The importance of teamwork – Cicely found likeminded individuals in her community and in the U.S. to sustain her inspiration and her enthusiasm for her goal. We can accomplish more as a team than as individuals.
  • Flexible models are necessary for optimum care – Cicely resisted standardizing her model of hospice care and instead chose to help others create their own unique solutions for the needs of their communities.
  • Have a big vision but humble expectations – Cicely sought to change care of the dying across the world with her vision of hospice but was content to make a difference to just one patient at at time.

“If one man from a poor village in India dies without pain because of what I have done, it will all have been worthwhile.” – Dame Cicely Saunders

Today we would be advised to remember her Total Pain concept as we struggle to deal with an opioid crisis in the U.S. Neglecting the contribution of emotional and spiritual pain to physical pain has led to over-reliance on drugs as the answer to suffering.

cicelyhospice1

Happy Birthday Dame Cicely Saunders!

Thank you for inspiring us to carry on your big vision of helping every person find comfort, peace and love at the end of life.

Tune in every Monday for a new episode! If you enjoy this content please share with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes. Until next week:

Face Your Fear           BE Ready             Love Your Life

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Ep. 147 Green Burial: A Will for the Woods with Amy Browne and Brian Wilson

Learn about a beautiful documentary film that you can include in a community workshop on home funerals and green burial.

PodcastBrowneWilson

WillWoodsTeamIn this episode I share a “legacy interview” with two of the directors of the documentary film “A Will for the Woods” – Amy Browne and Brian Wilson. This is one of my favorite films and I encourage you to consider bringing it to your community for a screening and discussion about home funerals and green burial.

Learn more about the film here. 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously online reading group for 2018 here.

Patreonbecome2xThis episode is sponsored by my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu. Thank you today to Holly Randall for increasing your monthly pledge! I appreciate all of the donors who have been chipping in over the past year-and-a-half to keep this podcast on the air! You can join the team for as little as $1 per month at Patreon.com/eolu.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Filmmakers Amy Browne and Brian Wilson  discuss their award-winning film, A Will for the Woods, the story of a man near the end of his life who prepares for his own green burial. This film has been named “One of the 9 documentaries you must see this year” by the TED blog and has won numerous awards at film festivals around the country. In this interview you will learn:

  • what inspired 4 young filmmakers to spend 4 years filming this end-of-life journey
  • what the movie teaches us about death and burial customs
  • how this film can change the funeral industry
  • how to plan your own green burial and create a “green will”

Co-Director/Producer, Amy Browne, grew up in Australia and moved to New York City to study theater at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and film at The New School University. Her film credits include Associate Producer for Crazy & Thief (LA Film Festival 2012) and I Used to be Darker (Sundance 2013), as well as work on The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye (Berlinale & Tribeca 2011). She also recently commenced work as the Producer on upcoming documentary As Worlds Divide. When her sister Sophie introduced her to the concept of green burial, which connects the profundity and beauty of nature with the cycle of death and life, Amy was inspired to further explore the idea through film.

Co-director/Editor, Brian Wilson, graduated from Brown University with a degree in Comparative Literature and History, and works as an editor in New York. Passionate about the natural world and its protection and restoration, he is pleased to be exploring and raising awareness about green burial with A Will for the Woods. He became interested in developing deeper insight into death after his mother died in 2008, and has been grateful to find it through working on this project, which he hopes will offer similar comfort and understanding to many viewers.

Website: www.awillforthewoods.com 

Remember there’s a new episode every Monday! If you enjoy this content please consider leaving a review on iTunes. Until next week –

Face Your Fear          BE Ready          Love Your Life

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Ep. 146 What the End-of-Life Movement Can Learn from the Natural Childbirth Movement – Part 2

Learn about the obstacles facing the end-of-life movement as we try to improve our approach to death and dying in society.

 

PodcastMovement

Slide1In Part 2 of this discussion I’ll look at the major “threats” to the advancement of improved care for the dying and dead in our society and how we might overcome them. Be sure to listen to Part 1 and download the original article below if you want to know more.

What the EOL movement can learn from natural childbirth

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

The links mentioned in this episode include:

A Year of Reading Dangerously reading group – http://eoluniversity.com/yearofreading

Episode 128: Why We Need Death Education for Everyone Right Now

Episode 129: How to Teach Death-Ed to College Students with Stacy Smith

Episode 130: How Death Awareness Can Change the World

Episode 132: What it Takes to be a GREAT Death-Ed Teacher

Slide01Get the Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class if you are interested in teaching your own class. You’ll be on the mailing list for the next Work Group for Death & Dying Class Teachers.

Sign up for the guidelines here.

Learn about our upcoming Work Group here

 

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Today we will discuss the potential threats or obstacles to advancing the end-of-life movement in our society:

  • Lure of technology that attracts people to seek more and more treatment at the end of life rather than seeking out alternatives.
  • Desire for convenience
  • Fear of pain

Take-away messages from this 2-part series include:

  • We need a unified message for the cause of improving our society’s approach to death and dying.
  • Educate, educate, educate.
  • Create public-professional coalitions in every community
  • Be in it for the long haul

Remember to tune in every Monday for a new episode and if you enjoy this content consider leaving a review on iTunes. Until next week …

Face Your Fear           BE Ready          Love Your Life

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Ep. 145 What the End-of-Life Movement Can Learn from the Natural Childbirth Movement – Part 1

Learn what the history of natural childbirth in the U. S. has in common with the changes we are seeking in end-of-life care and how we can benefit from that knowledge as we move forward.

PodcastMovement

Slide1In this episode I share information from an article I researched and wrote about the natural childbirth movement in the U.S., how it developed over decades and ultimately succeeded with the help of the Baby Boom Generation. I’ll show how our current end-of-life movement is following a similar path and what we need to learn from the past. Download the special report below:

What the EOL movement can learn from natural childbirth

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

You can still join the online reading group: A Year of Reading Dangerously and read one book each month in 2018 about death, dying and the afterlife. In May we read the book Sacred Dying * by Megory Anderson and for the month of June we’re reading Choosing to Die * by Phyllis Shacter. Go to http://eoluniversity.com/yearofreading to learn more.

(* NOTE: These are affiliate links to Amazon – if you choose to purchase the books from these pages I will receive a small commission which will help support this podcast but cost nothing extra for you.)

HealingChantsAlbumThis episode is sponsored by the album Healing Chants by Gia! Check out this gorgeous collection of chants to help you relax, breathe deep, let go, and heal. Stay tuned to the end of the episode to hear the chant: You and I Are One.

Learn more about the album here.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

A “perfect storm” led to the breakthrough of natural childbirth into mainstream U.S. medicine and society back in the 1970’s as the Baby Boom generation began demanding better alternatives. There is a similar “perfect storm” brewing right now around end-of-life care as Baby Boomers are aging and facing their own later years.

According to the book Family Centered Maternity by Celeste R. Phillips there were 3 key factors that contributed to the rise in popularity of natural childbirth. These same factors are present now in the end-of-life movement:

  • Medical Pioneers who served as advocates within the medical profession and began demanding change from their colleagues.
  • Grassroots Movements in communities that educated and empowered consumers to push for improved and alternative methods of care.
  • Media Attention that spotlighted the cause and galvanized the public to get involved while also normalizing the conversation.

But change doesn’t happen overnight and those seeking change in how our society deals with death and dying need to remember these 3 lessons about change:

  • Change in society is ultimately driven by economic factors
  • Change requires a united effort
  • Change requires a critical mass

Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of this discussion which will cover the potential deterrents to the change we are seeking and the takeaway lessons that should be learned from studying the history of natural childbirth.

Patreonbecome2x

Thanks to all the supporters of this podcast on Patreon.com/eolu! Sign up to make a contribution of just $1 per month and receive special bonuses for patrons only!

If you enjoy this content please consider leaving a review on iTunes and sharing with others who would find it interesting!

Until next week …

Face Your Fear           BE Ready             Love Your Life

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Ep. 144 Tips for Caring for a Veteran at the End of Life

Learn how to provide appropriate and sensitive care to a veteran who is nearing the end of life.

PodcastVeteran

memorialdayToday’s “mini-episode” airs on Memorial Day in the U.S. – a day when we honor those who have given their lives in military service to our country. I share a few thoughts about how to give the best care possible to those who have served as they reach the end of their lives.

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

A Year of ReadingCheck out A Year of Reading Dangerously online reading group if you’d like to read books about death, dying and the afterlife and join our online discussions. The group will be going on all year long in 2018! Click here to read more and see the book list.

 

THANK YOU to all of my generous patrons who support the podcast and End-of-Life University Interview Series with small monthly donations at Patreon.com/eolu! Your support means everything to me! Visit the Patreon.com/eolu page if you’d like to become a supporter and receive special bonuses!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

On this Memorial Day we honor all those who died serving our country as members of the military. Today I am honoring all veterans for their sacrifices and service as we discuss how to give them the best possible end-of-life care.

The Veterans Administration estimates that 11-30% of all veterans experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of trauma during their military service.  PTSD symptoms can be triggered when a veteran faces the challenges of aging and death, even in those who have not experienced PTSD flare-ups for many years.

The symptoms of PTSD to be aware of if you are caring for a veteran include:

  • Flashbacks and vivid recollections of the traumatic event
  • Nightmares
  • Sensitivity to certain sounds or sights
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Anger outbursts
  • Isolation
  • Avoidance of situations that trigger memories

If you are caring for a veteran, whether you are a professional or family caregiver, it is important to understand the needs of your patient so you can offer appropriate care. Here are some tips:

  • Recognize that the veteran may be reluctant to complain of pain or distress because military training emphasizes stoicism and bravery. Talking about pain or fear may seem to be a sign of weakness to the veteran.
  • Watch for signs of uncontrolled pain (grimacing, muscle tension, elevated heart rate or blood pressure) even if the veteran denies discomfort.
  • Normalize the experience of pain by emphasizing that other patients with the same diagnosis often have pain and receive treatment for it.
  • Create a safe emotional space where the veteran’s wishes can be heard and respected without judgment.
  • Ask open-ended questions and show a willingness to listen, even to difficult stories, but don’t push the veteran to talk if he or she is reluctant.
  • Avoid startling the patient with an unexpected touch – always ask permission before reaching for a hand.
  • Acknowledge that you cannot possibly know what the veteran has experienced unless you yourself have been in military service. Show your gratitude for the sacrifices made.
  • Remember that the veteran may be carrying a burden of unresolved grief and guilt over the traumatic events of the past but may be concerned that no one else can tolerate listening to the stories that need to be told. Offer reassurance that you have heard many stories in the past and are trained to listen.
  • Enlist the help of a chaplain if the veteran is seeking forgiveness and interested in receiving pastoral care.
  • Consider bringing in a Veteran Volunteer if the patient is willing and one is available. A fellow vet will have an easier time establishing rapport and connecting with the patient. Check out The Twilight Brigade, which provides volunteers nationwide to be at the bedside of dying Veterans and “is one of the largest end-of-life care communities operating as an independent agency within VA hospitals and hospice care facilities across America.”

Heartfelt thanks to all veterans who have served to protect our freedom and safety! May your road be smooth and burdens light as you journey on at the end of life!

Remember there will be a new episode every Monday so be sure to tune in again. If you enjoy this content please consider leaving a review on iTunes and sharing the podcast with others.

Until next week:

Face Your Fear            BE Ready           Love Your Life

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Ep. 143 Lessons from “the Other Side” Through Channeled Writing with Matt McKay PhD

Learn how a skeptical psychologist began receiving messages through channeled writing from his son after his tragic death.

PodcastMcKay

MattMcKay2In this episode I share an interview with psychologist Matt McKay PhD who tells how he began receiving messages after his son’s death that taught him about spirituality here in this life and in the afterlife. Matt shares his suggestions for communicating with those “on the other side.”

Click here to learn more about Dr. McKay’s work and his book Seeking Jordan: How I Learned the Truth About Death and the Invisible Universe.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

wrmflatcoverThis episode is sponsored by my book: What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying. I share with you how I got inspired to write the book, why it took a long time to finally create it, and what you can learn from reading this book.

You can get it here on Amazon in print, ebook and audiobook formats!

THANK YOU to all of my current patrons on Patreon.com/eolu! Your support means everything to me! If you’d like to join in and help support this podcast for as little as $1 per month go to Patreon.com/eolu and check it out!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

In this presentation clinical psychologist Dr. Matthew McKay will share the story of his son Jordan and how he sought to connect with Jordan after his death. He will teach us how to communicate with our own loved ones who have died.

Dr. McKay offers these suggestions for starting your own practice of channeled writing:

  • Get grounded and centered
  • Have a physical object that connects you to your loved one
  • Use a candle or other visible object to focus your gaze
  • Become more receptive bu using mindfulness, self-hypnosis, breathing techniques
  • Have a special notebook handy
  • Write down a question for the loved one you would like to communicate with
  • Wait for words to form in your mind and immediately write down anything that arises, without judging or questioning it
  • Acknowledge your doubt but don’t be paralyzed by it

Remember there will be a new episode every Monday! If you enjoy this content please consider leaving a review on iTunes and sharing it with others.

Until next week …

Face Your Fear         BE Ready         Love Your Life

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Ep. 142 It’s Complicated: Mother-Daughter Relationships at the End of Life with Kate Riley

Learn how mothers and daughters cope with their changing roles as the end of life nears.

PodcastRiley

KateRileyIn this episode I share an interview with Kate Riley, author and death midwife, about our own relationships with our mothers and how they changed as we provided care to them at the end of life.  Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there listening!

Learn more about Kate’s work here.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Thank you to my latest sponsor on Patreon.com/eolu: Marilyn Stoner. Thank you for support and thanks to all of my patrons – I appreciate your generosity very much!!

This episode is brought to you by my course Get Over it For Good: Healing the Hidden Wounds of Childhood. Learn to get over events from the past that keep you stuck and unable to grow. This is a self-study course that helps you identify your hidden wounds and discover the wisdom you can gain from them. Platinum supporters on Patreon.com/eolu will receive a 30% discount on the course! Learn more about the course here.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

My guest Kate Riley and I discuss the joys and challenges of daughters who care for their mothers at the end of life. Kate was the caregiver for her mother during the last 9 months of her life and shares her insights about that process.

In this interview you will learn:

  • The ups and downs of the caregiver journey
  • The benefits of presence at the end of life
  • How meditation helps with preparation for death
  • Death has its own mysterious timing
  • The pain of letting go of our mothers and being let go of by them
  • How caregiving helps us heal our relationships
  • Advice for daughters caring for their mothers

Kate Riley is a certified death midwife, minister, international story consultant, author and educator. She began private practice in compassionate end-of-life care after completing hospice training in the late 1980s. She serves as a liaison for individuals facing end-of-life decisions, working with their families and medical teams in providing a more person-centered approach. She encourages and supports those who want to take a conscious, active role in their own dying process. She is the author of The Green Velvet Journals and Launching Vee’s Chariot: An End-of-Life Tale. Kate lives in the Wood River Valley of Idaho—a great place to find balance in all of life’s stages. Her advanced training includes death midwife/doula certification through Final Passages and current enrollment in the California State University Palliative Care Chaplaincy program.

Remember to tune in every Monday for a new episode! If you enjoy this content please consider leaving a review on iTunes. Until next week:

Face Your Fear         BE Ready         Love Your Life

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Ep. 141 Travel to Heal the Grief of War: Tips for a Pilgrimage

Learn how to create a pilgrimage to help you process the grief that follows the trauma of war.

 

PodcastNormandy

griefluggagelg2ED-1149289_1280In this episode I share my own story of traveling to Normandy to retrace my father’s footsteps during World War II. This was part of a grief pilgrimage I took to help me understand the factors that led to my father’s suicide many years later.

Read the companion blog here.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

You can still sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously and join our online reading group for 2018. Read more about it here.

This episode is sponsored by my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu who contribute a little each month to keep this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air! Thank you to my latest patron: Martha Johnson! I appreciate your support more than you can ever know. To become a patron go to Patreon.com/eolu and receive some special bonuses.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

One year ago I featured a special 8-part series titled Suicide: Surviving the Aftermath about my own journey of healing following my father’s suicide death. This week is the anniversary of his death and I’m focusing in today on part of my journey.

(You can hear the entire Suicide Series at: www.eoluniversity.com/suicideseries )

In order to learn more about the impact of World War II on Dad’s emotional health I took a grief pilgrimage to Normandy to explore the location of some of his traumatic experiences. That trip was a powerful experience that helped me understand Dad better and grasp the burden of grief and guilt that he had carried with him since the war.

Here are my tips for anyone who wants to plan a similar pilgrimage (listen to the episode for more of the details and to hear how my own journey unfolded):

  • Do your homework before you go: Learn all you can about your loved one’s wartime travels so you can choose the places you’ll visit carefully. Check the National Archives for information and military records for your loved one.
  • Visit a museum: You’ll learn a lot of history in a short time by starting your journey at a war memorial museum. You’ll find some of the recommended World War II museums in Europe listed here.
  • Enlist a guide: A local guide with a solid knowledge of history and the area can save you time and show you places you wouldn’t have discovered on your own. Find a guide that speaks your language fluently and is willing to go to the places on your list.
  • Meet a local: One of the benefits of traveling to the location of the war is the opportunity to meet people who personally experienced the war and its aftermath (or their offspring.) Local citizens will have stories to share that will help broaden your perspective.
  • Take your time: The emotions that arise on grief pilgrimage are intense so allow time for reflection and processing. Don’t rush through the sites but stop and take it all in. Let your feelings rise to the surface so that they can be witnessed.
  • Participate in a ritual: Rituals provide a powerful opportunity for healing during grief travel experiences so plan ahead to create your own special ceremony. Or you may have a chance to take part in a scheduled ceremony with other travelers as I did when I visited the Normandy American Cemetery. 

Learn more about how travel helped my grief by listening here.

Tune in each Monday for a new episode and if you enjoy this content please consider leaving a review on iTunes!

Until next week remember ….

Face Your Fear             BE Ready             Love Your Life

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Ep. 139 The One Question You Need to Answer to Jumpstart Your EOL Planning

Learn how answering just one question can simplify your decision-making process for end-of-life planning.

PodcastEOLquestion

slide01In this episode I’ll share how one simple question helped clarify my Mom’s end-of-life wishes and why I recommend starting there to put your own advance care planning into the proper perspective. This episode is sponsored by my course “Step-by-Step Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning.

Learn more about the course here.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

You can still join my online reading group for 2018 “A Year of Reading Dangerously” and read a book each month on death, dying and the afterlife. Sign up here.

Thank you to all of my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu! Your donations mean a lot to me!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Putting our wishes for the end of life into writing is more complicated than it seems. We can easily get lost when we start to consider all of the options available and make decisions about what we do or do not want for care during out last days.

When my mother was trying to complete her living we finally found a simple way to clarify what really mattered to her. I asked her to tell me how she wanted it to be when she was taking her last breaths in this life. And she answered right away: “I want to be in my own home with you taking care of me.”

That one question changed everything for us and her answer guided all of the decisions that we made together as a family for the next five years before her death. I have spent time thinking about the one question myself and it is clear to me that the only thing that will really matter to me when I am ready to die is love. I will want to be as near as possible to the people I love.

You can use this one question too:

  • Imagine your last moments of life: how do you want it to be?
  • Describe what you see in positive terms first: Who is with you? Where are you?
  • Keep it simple to avoid being overwhelmed. Just a few details are all you need to describe.
  • Finally add your 2-3 absolute DO-NOT’s to the picture. What do you definitely NOT want to have happen during your last moments? Again – limit the number to those things you feel strongest about. Your family will remember 2-3 requests but not 10-12.

Start talking now about your positive vision for your final moments and let your family know what you envision. When you engage them in your vision they are more likely to help  you create it. They will have had time to think about your vision and to imagine themselves being part of it.

No matter what start thinking about the end of life now. It’s never too soon to get your plans in order! Consider signing up for the Step-by-Step Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning if you’d like to have a doctor by your side as you make decisions for yourself!

Other related episodes you might like to hear:

Ep. 105: Choosing the Right Healthcare Proxy

Ep. 103: The Truth About CPR: Exposing the Myths

Ep. 81: Let’s Talk About It: The Conversation Project with Dr. Jessica McCannon

Remember there will be a new episode next Monday! If you enjoy this content please consider leaving a review on iTunes (Thanks!!).

Until next time …

Face Your Fear            BE Ready             Love Your Life

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Ep. 138 Pet Therapy for Hospice Patients with Carol Mestemacher and Magnum – Facility Dog

Learn how pet therapy with a trained animal companion can benefit hospice patients physically and emotionally.

PodcastMagnum

MagnumIn this episode I share a “legacy interview” from the archives with Magnum – a trained facility dog – and his handler Carol Mestemacher about the benefits of pet therapy for hospice patients. Magnum recently “retired” from his volunteer position so I decided to honor his work by featuring this interview today. Thank you for your service Magnum and Carol!

Links to learn more about pet therapy:

Champ Assistance Dogs

Assistance Dogs International

Pet Partners

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

A huge thank you to my new supporters on Patreon.com/eolu: Susan Clark and Howard Bryant! Your contributions help me keep this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air. If you’d like to join us for as little as $1 a month and receive special bonuses go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more!

Links to events taking place now:

“A Year of Reading Dangerously” – online reading group about dying, death and the afterlife

S.M.A.R.T. Decisions Challenge – 10-day challenge for completing your advance directives this month

Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class – get this free guide to help you start a class

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

This episode features an interview with Magnum – Facility Dog and his handler Carol Mestemacher about the benefits of pet therapy for hospice patients.

You will learn:

  • The physical and emotional changes that occur for patients with pet therapy
  • The training required for an animal to be certified for pet therapy
  • How maximum security prisoners are providing training for therapy animals
  • What type of pet is well-suited to become a therapy animal
  • How Magnum serves as an ambassador for hospice in his community
  • How to start a pet therapy program in your area

Remember to tune in for a new episode every Monday! If you enjoy this podcast please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes!

Until next week …

Face Your Fear              BE Ready           Love Your Life

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