Learn how grief over the death of loved one is compounded by other losses that occur simultaneously.
In this episode I share a conversation with Rev. Terri Daniel about the “other grief” that occurs throughout life with or without the death of a loved one. We’ll talk about this hidden grief and why it is important to acknowledge it as an important part of life.
It’s not too late to sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously and join us in reading books about death, dying and the afterlife throughout 2018! Learn more and sign up here.
Thank you to all of the donors who are contributing to my page at Patreon.com/eolu each month! It makes a huge difference and I’m very grateful! Thank you to Suzanne O’Brien RN and Doulagivers.com for being a “legacy supporter” for the past 18 months!
In this interview Rev. Terri Daniel and I talk about the big picture of grief throughout life’s transitions and how it often goes unnoticed as we focus primarily on grief after a death occurs. We talk about:
Continuing Bonds Theory
“Other” types of loss
Four additional types of grief
The need for ritual and ceremony to process grief
Are there avoidable vs. unavoidable losses?
Rev. Terri Daniel is a clinical chaplain and end-of-life educator certified in death, dying and bereavement by the Association of Death Education and Counseling. Her work focuses on assisting dying and grieving individuals to discover a more spiritually-spacious understanding of loss and trauma.
Remember to tune in every Monday for a new episode and please leave a review on iTunes if you enjoy this content!
Learn from this Emmy-award winning composer how music is a form of “energy medicine” that can transform grief and the end-of-life experience.
In this episode I share an interview with Gary Malkin, composer of the music for “Graceful Passages,” a CD used in hospices around the world to comfort the dying. Gary will discuss how music has the potential to heal on a physical, emotional and spiritual level and why healthcare should include the arts in the future.
You can still sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously and join our online reading group. For the month of January 2018 we are reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Sign up below to receive email notifications each month and to join our stimulating conversation on Facebook and by live conference call.
As always, support for this podcast comes from my donation page at Patreon.com/eolu. Thank you to all of my current donors who are helping to keep this show and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air. Special thanks this week goes to Laurie Dinerstein-Kurs for increasing her pledge to the Platinum level! If you’d like to contribute (as little as $1 per month) go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more.
This week I welcome Emmy winning composer Gary Malkin to talk about his CD for end-of-life transitions: Graceful Passages.
Key takeaways from this interview include:
How Gary composed the music for Graceful Passages and where the inspiration came from
How music can be used as a tool that calls people to be fully present and can be very helpful in end-of-life scenarios
Why music is helpful in times of grief
Why we should look for music that is “life-enhancing” or “positive intention” to have a soothing effect and create a response of relaxation
Science is documenting that music and other art forms can increase heart coherence, cause the release of oxytocin (the “love hormone”) and enhance immune function
Why periods of silence are important and how deep breathing and soft toning can help bridge the fear of silence
Thanks for tuning in! You’ll find a new episode every Monday so be sure to come back. Leave a review on iTunes if you enjoy this kind of content!
Learn about my Top-10 picks for people, events and trends that have changed the end-of-life movement in 2017.
In this final episode of 2017 I take a look back at the previous year and share my thoughts on some of the events and people that I believe will have a big impact on how our society deals with the end of life.
You can support this podcast by making a small donation of $1 or $2 at Patreon.com/eolu.
Here are my picks for the 2017 Game Changers in the Death-Positive Movement:
The documentary film “Extremis” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. The film was also picked up by Netflix in 2016. It is a powerful depiction of end-of-life care in the ICU staffed by Dr. Jessica Zitter, which should serve as a wake-up call to people about the need to do end-of-life planning before a healthcare crisis occurs.
Dr. Jessica Zitter’s book Extreme Measures was also released this year. In addition she wrote an article for the N.Y. Times (“First Sex Ed Then Death Ed”) calling for death education classes for all high school students. This novel idea has the potential to change our society’s perception of death and dying by introducing the subject to young people. Dr. Zitter is truly a game changer!
In March and May of 2017 the organization The Dinner Party (a movement to provide community for millennials dealing with loss) convened meetings with business leaders from some prominent US corporations to discuss loss and the workplace. They emphasized the importance of developing workplace policies and protocols for managing bereaved employees and offering them assistance. These conversations are just the first step in changing how grief is recognized and supported in the workplace rather than being ignored.
In April 2017 the 1st International Death Doula Training was held in Maui for the purpose of teaching people from around the globe to serve others as death doulas. This event was a game changer because it validated the death doula movement, increased the number of qualified doulas who can serve their communities, and provided a networking platform for death workers, which helped strengthen and expand the movement. The 2nd International training will take place in 2018!
Also in Apri the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit was held to address the epidemic of opioid addiction in this country. Measures have been taken to limit the number of pain pills that can be prescribed and dispensed at one time. This is an important and game-changing step to deal with the overwhelming public crisis of opioid deaths but caution is necessary. We must be vigilant to ensure that all hospice and palliative care patients have access to the medications they need for pain and symptom management.
On June 27, 2017 Jon Underwood, founder of Death Cafe, died suddenly and unexpectedly at a young age. Jon has been a game changer from the beginning by creating the Death Cafe platform for conversations about death that has spread around the world. But the tragedy of his death is also a potential game changer because of the powerful legacy Jon leaves behind and because of the potential for tragedy to inspire growth, creativity and healing. The entire death-positive movement is indebted to Jon for his inspiring and gentle leadership and may his death be a catalyst for transformation.
In July a new smart phone app named WeCroak was introduced. This app is a game changer because it helps people to think about death in a positive manner by sending reminders (“You will die one day”) and quotes on their phones 5 times a day. Technology has the potential to revolutionize our approach to death and dying and this simple $.99 app is just one small step toward the change that is needed.
The film Coco was released in the US by Disney and Pixar in November. Coco tells the story of a 12-year old boy who is transported to the land of the dead on Dia de los Muertos. There he receives help from his departed great-great grandfather to return to his family in the land of the living. The film depicts joyful skeletons who dance and sing and it portrays a positive image of life after death. While it is a children’s movie Coco has a powerful message for adults and is likely to stimulate much conversation in families about death and departed ancestors. It is exciting to see Hollywood begin to address death in a positive manner and this film is a game changer that will hopefully lead to more such productions in the future.
In December the first EndWell Symposium, created by Dr. Shoshana Ungerleiderand her foundation, was held in San Francisco. This groundbreaking symposium brought together thought leaders from healthcare, design and technology to share ideas on how to improve end-of-life care. The synergy of this collaborative event will have a ripple effect across the country and should lead to innovation and creativity around death and dying in the months to come. Dr. Ungerleider is a game changer for her forward-thinking generosity and ingenuity!
Also in December the Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy in Prescott AZ held a class for students in grades 9-12 on “Death and the Meaning of Life.” School Director Charles Mentken taught the class, which provided a comprehensive look at death and dying from various cultural and religious perspectives. The elective class also introduced the students to options for hospice and palliative care, death doulas, home funerals, cremation, and traditional funeral and burial services. This may be the first “pilot project” course of the type Dr. Jessica Zitter called for in her NY Times article and it is definitely a game changer. The students in the course have reported that their attitudes and fears about death have been totally transformed, as well as their approach to life, as a result of what they learned in the class. (I’ll be featuring an interview with Charles Mentken and 3 of his students on the End-of-Life University Interview Series in early 2018. Sign up if you’re not already on the list!)
I hope your holiday celebrations have been filled with joy and light and that you feel ready to embark on a brand new year next week! There will be a new episode on New Year’s Day where I will share my “wish list” for 2018.
Learn how The Dinner Party movement helps millennials cope with grief and some tips for managing grief during the holidays.
In this episode I share an interview with Carla Fernandez and Lennon Flowers, co-founders of The Dinner Party, a movement that is helping grieving millennials find community. I also talk about some of their tips for grief over the holidays.
Check out my new blog series on Grief Travel and learn some tips for planning travel to help with grief. Go to eoluniversityblog.com to find the series and start planning your own grief travel experience.
Thank you so much to all of my Patrons who have made donations on Patreon.com/eolu this year! I am forever grateful for your support and encouragement. If you would like to help keep End-of-Life University on the air you can go to Patreon.com/eoluand pledge just $1 a month to receive bonuses like the monthly Q&A recording I call “Hospice Happy Hour.” You’ll also be able to listen to all of the replays from the recent Death Expo 2017.
My guests Carla Fernandez and Lennon Flowers are the co-founders of The Dinner Party, a movement to create community and meaningful conversation around the isolating experience of grief for those in their 20’s and 30’s. Younger adults often feel out of place in traditional grief support groups and Carla and Lennon will share how their own personal losses led them to start The Dinner Party, which has now grown across the U.S. and beyond.
In this interview you will learn:
The inspiration behind The Dinner Party
Why The Dinner Party reaches out to millennials
How participants benefit from attending
How to become a host for a Dinner Party
How Carla and Lennon are working to create supportive workplaces for the bereaved
What resources are available on The Dinner Party website for grief in the workplace and grief at holiday times
Wishing you and your loved ones much love, joy and light during this holiday season, no matter how you choose to celebrate. I’ll be enjoying Christmas with my family next week but there will still be a podcast episode so be sure to tune in.
Learn how travel can provide a “safe container” for healing grief and loss.
In this episode I’ll share my own insights into how the experience of travel can help with the process of grief. This is also the subject of the new book I’m writing (I did research for it on my recent trip to Italy) … I’ll share a brief overview here!
You can check out all of my Italy photos onInstagram!
Each month I host a “Virtual Death Cafe” with fascinating conversations about death, grief and the end of life. Anyone can join by telephone or online. You can learn more about it at www.eoluniversity.com/death-cafe.
This podcast is supported through the generous donations of my patrons on Patreon.com/eolu. I’m sending a HUGE THANK YOU to all of my current supporters – your support makes a big difference! Join the fun for just $1 or $2 per month and you’ll receive the “Patrons Only” Q&A recording each month (Hospice Happy Hour!) Go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more and sign up!
During several of my travel experiences in the past I have been dealing with grief and have found the process of travel to be helpful. On one trip to Italy, my husband and I learned of the death of our brother-in-law on the day we arrived in Venice. Unable to cancel the rest of our trip and return home immediately, which we wanted to do, we stumbled through the remainder of the vacation and managed to make peace with our pain.
Here are some of my “takeaways” about how travel can help with grief:
Permission to wander aimlessly. On our Venice trip we canceled all of our sightseeing plans and activities. We started each day with a totally clean slate and just wandered the streets and canals of the city all day long. By following our intuition and our broken hearts we were able to enter into our grief without distraction or attachment. Had we been at home with family we would have felt obligated to “do something” and “be somewhere” but because we were traveling we were free of all expectations.
Seeing the big picture. Because we were freed up from the details of our daily life at home, we found more space to explore grief from a “trans-personal” perspective, as something bigger than just our own individual lives. Experiencing grief in another country allowed us to:
Recognize that all people, everywhere, experience the death of loved ones. Our mortality and the grief it causes us is the interconnecting thread that binds us to all of humanity.
Go deep into history. By visiting ancient ruins we can see that all of humankind, throughout history has dealt with the pain of loss and struggled to make peace with death. Our experience of grief is just one part of a vast “whole” picture of human loss.
Surrendering to grief to find joy within. As travelers “stuck” in another country even though we wanted to be home, we had no choice but to surrender to the pain that engulfed us. When we allowed grief to find a home within (and even “became” a living embodiment of grief) we also discovered a startling capacity for simple joy over the beauty of being alive. I’ve written this before: suffering hollows us out so that we can contain an even greater measure of joy … and also love.
Understanding impermanence. Strolling through cemeteries, relics and ruined structures of the past illustrated to me perfectly that everything that exists in the physical realm is impermanent and will one day dissolve away. Only love and the energy of life persist eternally. And it is the depth of the love we experience for others that causes the magnitude of pain we feel upon their deaths. Grief is one of the visible manifestations of love in the physical realm.
Learning how to navigate in unfamiliar territory. On our “grief trip” in Venice we simply wandered every day until we were hopelessly lost. We took in everything around us along the way–noticing all the colors and sounds and fragrances of life. And when we felt ready to return “home” we studied our maps to figure out where we were and to slowly find our way back to more familiar territory. This skill of navigating in the unknown will prove to be very helpful to us throughout life and especially during our own dying process as we struggle to get back to a home we can’t remember.
I hope you will take the opportunity to travel some day, even when you are experiencing grief, to experience the profound benefits it can offer!
Tune in every Monday for a new episode of the podcast! If you enjoy this content, please share it with others and leave a review on iTunes! Until next week remember:
Learn how the practice of yoga can help heal acute and chronic grief.
In this episode I share an interview with yoga teacher Paul Denniston who has created a special workshop for healing grief using yoga and movement. He’ll share stories of his own journey through grief and how his workshop is helping others.
The Thanksgiving Holiday is approaching in the U.S. and I want to wish everyone a week of gratitude and generosity as we reflect on all that life has given us. My family will be celebrating with our Annual Thanksgiveaway: handing out care packages to the homeless. This is just a small gesture of kindness as a way of expressing our thankfulness for all of our blessings of the past year. I hope you too find a special way to share with others on this holiday!
I am especially grateful for all of my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu! Your generosity helps me feel connected to my audience and lets me know that you like the content I am creating. If you would like to become a patron you can sign up to contribute just $1 or $2 per month at Patreon.com/eolu.
Barbara McAfee has generously offered to share the following music video with all of us! She wrote the song Living Dying Man for her friend Jamie Showkeir as he faced the end of his life from ALS. Learn more at Barbara’s website: http://barbaramcafee.com
I hope you enjoy listening! Thank you Barbara for sharing with us!
In this interview yoga teacher Paul Denniston will discuss:
his use of yoga as therapy for grief
how various types of yoga can help release grief that has been stored in the physical body
tips and strategies for moving through grief
why laughter yoga is especially healing.
Paul Denniston teaches Grief Yoga to bereavement groups in one of the largest hospices in Los Angeles, and has taught for several years at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. He offers techniques and exercises to therapists, counselors and health care professionals in the United States, England and Australia. Paul has studied with some of the world’s leaders in grief work, including David Kessler, William Worden and Elisabeth Kubler Ross.
Tune in every Monday for a new episode! If you enjoy this podcast please consider leaving a review on iTunes – it will be greatly appreciated!
Learn how this unconventional therapy can help us heal from grief and trauma.
In this episode I share an interview with Dr. Linda Backman, a psychologist and regression therapist who helps people access information from previous lives and between lives. Whether or not you believe in multiple lifetimes you’ll find her work and experiences fascinating.
November 16-17 I’ll share with you a series of presentations on end-of-life issues with a variety of speakers, like Caleb Wilde of Confessions of a Funeral Director, oncology nurse and author Meina Dubetz RN, Carla Fernandez and Lennon Flowers of The Dinner Party and Larry Wildemuth, who’ll talk about the end-of-life planning game Go Wish! You’ll also be able to listen to Encore Interviews from previous Death Expo events with Stephen Jenkinson, Jerrigrace Lyons, and Kate Kalanick of The Green Burial Council.
All you have to do to join in is make sure you are on the End-of-Life University mailing list: