Learn about Bodhi’s training program for death doulas on Maui and how to restore the sacred aspect of dying.
My guest Bodhi Be is an ordained Sufi minister, teacher, guide, funeral director, and bereavement counselor on the island of Maui. He is also the founder and director of the International Death Doula Certificate Training program, which is going on its 4th year. We talk about the sacred aspect of death and dying and the importance of death doulas. Learn more at his website:
Learn about a feature film that traces the story of a family’s conflict and ultimate resolution as their father reaches the end of life.
My guest Mike Kravinsky is the writer and director of this feature film that was inspired by his own father’s end-of-life journey. He discusses why and how he created the film and the impact it is having on viewers across the country. You can view this award-winning film, Nothing To Do, on Amazon Prime, iTunes and the Dish Network and it is also available for borrowing from local libraries.
Join the team at Patreon.com/eoluand get access to the EOLU mug: “Mind if we talk about death?” (only Patrons can purchase it)
Join me in New York in September!!
If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on Patreon.com/eolu, especially my new patron, Jean Berman–your contribution means everything to me!
Learn how death doula training helped this physician find more meaning and fulfillment in her end-of-life medical practice.
My guest Dr. Jackie Yeager is a hospice and palliative care physician who has also trained as a death doula in order to provide the best possible care to her patients. She discusses her passion for slow medicine, especially at the end of life, and describes a new course she is launching on medical information for caregivers and death doulas. Learn more about the Informed Caregiver Course at her website:
Join the team at Patreon.com/eoluand get access to the EOLU mug: “Mind if we talk about death?” (only Patrons can purchase it)
If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on Patreon.com/eolu, especially my new Patrons: Kimberly Ogle, Linda McCarthy and Sherilee Bakken!
Learn how administrators and managers can better support their staff in providing heart-based care to hospice patients.
My guest Brenda Clarkson, with over 40 years of nursing experience in hospice, truly understands the mystery that surrounds the dying process and how best to support patients and hospice staff as they journey together through the end-of-life experience. She shares her model for returning to the roots of excellent hospice care while navigating today’s regulatory challenges as outlined in her book “The Heart of Hospice: Core Competencies for Reclaiming the Mystery.” Contact Brenda at:
Registration is now open for the 8-week online course Spiritual Journeys in Chronic Illness. Rev. Dr. Terri Daniel and I will be co-teaching the class, which is offered by the Applied Wisdom Institute in partnership with the University of Redlands. CEU’s will be available! Learn more here.
Mark your calendars now for the event of the year!!! Announcing the Beautiful Dying Expo, which will be held in San Diego CA on November 2-3, 2019. I’ll be there as a facilitator for the event and registration is open now for workshop presenters, vendors, sponsors, authors, filmmakers. Go to www.beautifuldyingexpo.com to learn more. Contact Michele Little at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being a presenter.
This interview includes:
Why honoring “the mystery” of dying and death is important
How the modern hospice movement has strayed from from the original heart of patient care
A new “mystery model” of hospice care that overcomes some of the challenges faced by hospices today
Core competencies of the hospice staff
The 4 phases of growth experienced by hospice workers
How to decrease the turnover rate of hospice workers
Tools for administrators and managers to choose the best staff for hospice work and support them emotionally and spiritually
Learn how death doulas can benefit both patients and staff when they are added to the hospice interdisciplinary team.
Today I’m sharing an interview with Sherry Majewski who is a hospice-certified LPN who went to become a Certified Death Doula and is now helping her employer create a doula program within the hospice. We talk about the benefits and challenges of adding doulas to the hospice team and why this is an important step forward as we work to improve care for the dying. Learn more about Sherry’s doula services at her website:
If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on Patreon.com/eolu, especially my new patrons Joanna Lillian Brown, Karin Lindfors, Carol Marangoni, Cathy Clemens, Myra Bennett, and to Mandy Pierpont thank you for increasing your pledge!
In this episode I share an interview with Cheryl Jones, host of the Good Grief Radio Show, therapist and author of the newly-released novel An Ocean Between Them. We talk about the important subject of meeting the needs of members of the LGBTQ community at the end of life, which is part of the story told in her new book. Learn about Cheryl’s work here.
I’ll be leaving for Spain in just a few days! While I’m traveling you will be able to listen to a 4-part series on Palliative Care during this podcast so you won’t miss a single episode! If you’re interested you can follow my photos on Instagram at kwyattmd!
A HUGE THANK YOU to my latest supporters on Patreon.com/eolu: Lisa Milton, Debbie Hall and Christine Hazard Phillips. Your contributions are greatly appreciated and help keep this podcast and the EOLU Interview Series on the air. Join the team to get special bonus content!
CSU Institute for Palliative Care is holding a National Symposium on Palliative Care in San Diego October 11-12. Go to CSUpalliativecare.org to learn more.
My guest Cheryl Jones is a grief counselor, host of the Good Grief Radio Show on VoiceAmerica, and the author of the newly-released novel An Ocean Between Them. We will discuss the challenges that LGBTQ people experience in receiving care at the end of life and ways to make our organizations and facilities more inclusive.
In this interview you will learn:
Why members of the LGBTQ community access less healthcare than the general populatioN
Obstacles faced by LGBTQ individuals in receiving care in residential facilities, hospices, hospitals
Why a durable medical power of attorney is an essential document for all LGBTQ individuals
How the organization SAGE advocates for LGBTQ seniors
How to find common ground in end-of-life care even when we don’t agree on lifestyle choices
About post-traumatic growth and why it’s important to foster
Ways to create an LGBTQ-supportive environment in your organization or business
About Cheryl’s novel that addresses the challenges of LGBTQ relationships with family at the end of life
Cheryl Jones is the host of the radio show Good Grief. She is also a grief counselor and cancer educator. During her education as a Marriage and Family Therapist, her first wife was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, which was at the time a uniformly terminal illness with a six month to one year prognosis. In the eight + years that followed, Cheryl engaged daily in the work of preparing for her death. She received training during this period from Stephen and Ondrea Levine (Who Dies and Grieving Into Life and Death) and Richard Olney (founder of Self-Acceptance Training). After her wife’s death, Cheryl immersed herself in her own multifaceted grief, surprised by frequent moments of joy.
Cheryl is a consultant and group leader at the Free Therapy Program of the Women’s Cancer Resource Center, where she developed, manages and teachies in their Continuing Education program. She has trained extensively with Erving Polster, leader in the field of gestalt therapy and author of Everybody’s Life is worth a Novel. She was Clinical Director at the Alternative Family Project, which served the therapeutic needs of LGBTQ families in San Francisco. Finally she is the author of the recently published novel: An Ocean Between Them.
Learn some tips for starting important conversations about death with people you are meeting for the first time!
In this episode I’ll share with you some stories about my recent yoga retreat and the many amazing conversations I was able to have with strangers about death and dying. I’ve got a few tips for you about starting up your own conversations about death with random strangers. (Here’s a photo from a sunrise hike I took during the retreat!)
Stay tuned to the end of the podcast as I’ll play her song Evocation as the Outro today!
A HUGE THANK YOU to my latest supporter on Patreon.com/eolu: Karen Van Hoof! I appreciate your support very much. Thanks also to all of the other patrons – sign up and join the team for as little as $1 per month at Patreon.com/eolu!
Today I’ll tell you about my recent 5-day retreat at a yoga center where I went to relax, do yoga and finish revising one of my books. While I was there I had the pleasure of talking with many other visitors to the retreat center about death and dying, which was fascinating. Normally I don’t find many people out in the general public who want to talk about death. And while the people I conversed with weren’t necessarily interested in death before our discussion they each seemed to come away with a new understanding or sense of peace.
In order to confront our society’s fear of death we need many more conversations like this to happen every day with people who are not already tuned in to death awareness.
Each of us needs to step up and reach out to others to start a dialogue about death that might prove very helpful to our conversation partner and very informative for us.
Here are my tips for talking with strangers about death and dying:
Choose the right time and place: my conversations generally took place at the table while I was sharing a meal with various strangers. Breaking bread together creates an automatic sense of connection and safety since we usually associate mealtimes with positive feelings. There is also often some free time between courses where conversation can happen naturally. It may also work well to talk about death during other shared activities like hiking, gardening or cooking. Watch for the right opportunity to arise.
Find common ground first: make sure you have established a basic connection by talking about the meal (or the garden, or the hike, etc.) Since my conversation partners were also there for yoga classes we had an automatic common subject to begin chatting about while we established a connection.
Perfect your “elevator speech” which is a very brief story you tell whenever someone asks “What do you do?” The idea is that your answer is so brief you can complete it during a short elevator ride from one floor to the next. So think of one or two sentences you can use to answer that question and give another person an idea of your work. My answer at the yoga retreat was: “I’m a retired hospice physician who now writes books.” Tell them enough to garner their interest and curiosity and lead naturally to more questions. I purposely avoided mentioning death and dying in my initial introduction so that I wouldn’t frighten anyone away before we even got started. But most individuals I encountered were intrigued and asked more either about the hospice work or about the books I’m writing. Both of those questions led directly to a talk about death and dying. On several occasions the other person immediately brought up a story of a loved one or friend on hospice. Many times it was a story that desperately needed to be told and also came with questions about death, dying and hospice. I was amazed by the quality of conversation that occurred in these instances and the need for accurate information. I’m convinced that many people out there really do need to talk about death and dying but rarely encounter anyone they can speak to, which is where you come in!
Hone your listening skills: for these conversations focus on listening rather than telling your own story. Watch for cues from the other person that there is a need to say something and encourage them to talk by asking a question or two and stopping to listen attentively. We are all passionate about our work and other endeavors and there will be opportunities to share that at some point in the future. Initially it’s more important to just listen and hold space so that the other person can ask questions and get the support they need. Rely on your intuition to tell you when that person is ready for a little nudge or encouragement to go deeper into their feelings.
Share just enough information: again it is important to be a good listener so when you do describe your work don’t go overboard. Use simple and accurate terms to convey what you do but pause and allow the other person to ask for the information they need.
As you’ll hear when you listen to this episode I was able to have meaningful conversations with different people every day while I was at the retreat. These are some of the most important discussions we can be having right now so take a chance and strike up a conversation with a stranger about death and dying!
There will be a new episode every Monday so be sure to tune in again! And if you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes.
In this episode I share some thoughts about how to get involved in the end-of-life movement if you have recently become interested in death and dying. You’ll hear about my best ideas for contributing to change in the way people die and offering your service to others.
Welcome to our new sponsor: Authentic Presence Training from the Spiritual Care Program. Authentic Presence brings together practical contemplative resources with the knowledge and skills of modern hospice and palliative care. Suitable for professionals from all faith traditions or none, the course draws its inspiration particularly from Buddhist contemplative practice, the acclaimed classic The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, the work of the Dalai Lama, as well as contemplative neuroscience. Learn more here.
Join me and my guest Suzanne O’Brien RN for a free webinar: “EOL Doula Training for Caregivers and Volunteers” on Tuesday July 24th at 5 pm Pacific/8 pm Eastern. Register here and you’ll receive the replay if you can’t attend live.
Learn about these opportunities to be of service to the dying in many different capacities:
Work as a professional in hospice or palliative care (call your local hospice/palliative care program to see if you have the credentials needed and to learn about any training offered):
Become a volunteer – for those with no medical training:
Hospice volunteers are always needed (call your local hospice for more information)
Pet Therapy for Hospice Patients – if you have a special pet and would like to receive training to provide visits to patients. Learn more in this interview.
Seek out other opportunities in your community like Meals on Wheels, hospital or nursing home volunteer programs, church-related visitation programs
Become an End-of-Life Doula – check out the training mentioned above with Suzanne O’Brien and find out if this work is a good fit for you. Learn more here.
Start a caregiver training program – the need for in-home caregivers is going to increase dramatically over the next decade. Consider becoming a caregiver trainer to help your community meet this need.
Teach a death education class – there is currently a great need for education about death and dying in our society. Consider teaching your own class or workshop to provide information to others in your community. Get the Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class here.
Create a Community Event to inspire people to learn more about the end of life:
Learn about a humorous one-woman play that inspires audiences to discuss their fears about dying and death.
In 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.
On 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.
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
Learn about the physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of keeping a journal and why you should start doing it!
In this episode I share my thoughts on my own journaling practice and how it has changed my life. I also relate a story of a woman who kept a “hospice journal” during her last days of life. You’ll find plenty of reasons to start your own journaling practice and you can download the Journaling Starter Kit below if you are interested!
You can still join A Year of Reading Dangerously and start reading a book each month of 2018 about death and dying. It’s a great educational and inspirational experience! Click here to learn more and sign up.
Stay tuned for more information on my current Work Group for Death & Dying Teachers. We have gathered together a fabulous group of dedicated women who are going to be starting new classes on death and dying this year! I’ll be reporting on it in future episodes.
Thank you to my latest contributor on Patreon.com/eolu: Birgitte Due Jensen Koch! I appreciate your generosity and support so much! I’m grateful to everyone who is helping me keep this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air by making a financial commitment at Patreon.com/eolu.
This episode was inspired in part by a message I received from Evan Mercer about his wife Julie’s hospice journal, which he shared at her memorial service and in a video on YouTube:
I have been journaling for much of my life and have found it to be very beneficial in many ways. So I wanted to share this message to encourage everyone to give journaling a try and find out for yourself how it can help you. Here are some of the benefits I’ve received:
Creates discipline and a routine for my day
Helps me ventilate my emotions
Organizes my thoughts
Allows to analyze and process my judgments toward other people
Shows me another perspective and reveals my higher wisdom
Studies have shown that journaling has health benefits for people with chronic illnesses like asthma and arthritis and also for those with terminal illnesses like HIV/AIDS and cancer. I believe that keeping a “Hospice Journal” as Julie did can help terminal patients cope with a range of vacillating emotions as death approaches, discern what really matters in life, and leave behind a legacy for loved ones to cherish.
Journaling has also been shown to improve immune function and alleviate stress. Men seem to benefit from journaling even more than women and writing a journal by hand is more beneficial than typing on a keyboard.
Learn why it’s difficult to make black-and-white decisions for the end of life when death itself is a mystery that will unfold with its own timing.
This week is a solo episode in which I share two stories about hospice patients I cared for and the unpredictability of death, even when a terminal diagnosis is present. This reality means that we have to keep growing in our awareness and acceptance of death as a mystery, even while we complete paperwork that gives concrete instructions for our last days of life. AND I feature some clips from my beautiful daughter Gia’s new album of Healing Chants!
A HUGE THANK YOU to my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu: Julie Lester, Brian Hempstead, and Mandy Pierpoint! Your generosity means so much to me! And thanks as well to all of the donors who have made pledges over the past year. I appreciate you so much! If you’d like to become a patron and receive the Hospice Happy Hour Q&A recording each month along with other bonuses go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more!
I learned through my hospice work that death is a mystery and cannot be predicted or controlled unless we choose to take it into our own hands. Even then the method we use to end our life might fail or we might die of other causes before we can carry out our plans. But that mysterious aspect of death makes it endlessly fascinating to witness. If we can adopt a beginner’s mind about death then we can gradually become more relaxed and less fearful as we watch it approach.
The stories of two of my hospice patients illustrate the mystery of death quite well. One man was expected to live for several months after he signed up for hospice but died the next day of a massive heart attack. Another was in terminal renal failure and, according to medical experts, could not possibly remain alive for more than 2 weeks. And yet, that patient survived an entire year (it’s a great story so please listen in!)
As we work to complete our advance directives and put our wishes into writing we should also remember that this paperwork is not a guarantee of how our final days will unfold. The legal forms just help us prevent an outcome we don’t want. But when and how death comes will still be a mystery and we may end up awake and alert during our final days and responsible for our own decisions. So we would do well to keep learning about death and growing in our acceptance. In that way we can best prepare ourselves for any decisions we have to make at the end of life.
Remember there’s a new episode each Monday! Please tune in again next week and, if you enjoy this content leave a review on iTunes.
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 how this program of the NHPCO is helping to change public perception of hospice.
In this episode I share an interview with Anita Brikman, VP of Strategic Communications for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO.) We will discuss the “Moments of Life” Campaign, which promotes public awareness of hospice and how choosing hospice at the end of life is not “giving up.”
Anita Brikman and I will discuss the NHPCO’s public awareness campaign Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice. You’ll enjoy hearing about the creation of this beautiful campaign and how it might benefit you and your community. Watch this brief video about the campaign:
In this interview you will learn:
How the Moments of Life campaign is changing misperceptions about hospice care
How cultural barriers to hospice care are being broken down by the Moments of Life videos
What tools are avaiable on the Moments of Life website for patients and providers
How you can help spread the word about this campaign in your own community
How to submit a story to the NHPCO to be part of the campaign
Anita Brikman joined NHPCO in September of 2013 as the senior vice president of strategic communications and spokesperson for the national organization, which represents 1,600 hospice and palliative care providers with 3,400 locations across the United States, and more than 60,000 individual members. NHPCO’s affiliates, the National Hospice Foundation and Hospice Action Network, promote access to this end-of-life benefit and advocate to lawmakers and regulators about its vital importance to patients and families.
I hope you’ll visit Moments of Lifeand read or watch the beautiful stories of hospice patients there!
Thanks for tuning in and remember there will be a new episode every Monday! Until next week remember:
As you listen to this broadcast I am currently in Italy–traveling and doing research for my new book on grief (also eating … a lot!) This episode has been pre-recorded (along with several others) so that there will be no interruptions in the podcast. If you want to see photos of my journey follow me on Instagram or Facebook.
This podcast is generously sponsored by donations on my page at Patreon.com/eolu. Thank you to all of my patrons–your support means everything to me!! Submit your questions for the next “Hospice Happy Hour” Q&A Sessionhere and I’ll answer them next month. You can become a patron for just $1 or $2 per month and you’ll receive access to the Q&A recordings, the Top 10 Interviews from EOLU, and the opportunity to have your work promoted on this podcast. Go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more!
Dr. Ira Byock is a leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care through the end of life. He is the Founder and Chief Medical Officer for the Institute for Human Caring of Providence St. Joseph Health.
Tune in every Monday for a new episode of the podcast! If you enjoy this content please take a moment to leave a review on iTunes – it will help other listeners find the podcast.
Learn how a fascinating research project with hospice patients is uncovering the mysteries of deathbed experiences.
In this episode I will share an interview with hospice physician Chris Kerr MD who is conducting a research project on the dreams and visions of his patients as they near death. You’ll hear the results of his ongoing project and how this work is helping to inform medical professionals about the end-of-life experiences of their patients.
This podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series are supported in part through generous donations to my page at Patreon.com/eolu! This week I would like to thank Cathy Duke for her donation, along with all of the other patrons who have offered their support over the past year.
AND all patrons will now be able to take part in a monthly “hangout” called Hospice Happy Hour as a thank-you gift for donating to the cause. When you become a patron you will receive email instructions for taking part in the call. Go to Patreon.com/eolu if you would like to make a donation (just $1 or $2 per month!)
In this interview hospice physician Dr. Christopher Kerr will share his research on deathbed visions and dreams of patients at the end of life. He will enlighten us about the potential for healing that resides in these experiences and why we should encourage patients to talk about them. We’ll discuss:
how he conducts his research project,
the nature of the dreams experienced by his patients
what he has learned from this work.
Christopher W. Kerr, MD is a practicing Internist in Buffalo, NY. Dr. Kerr graduated from Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine in 1989 and has been in practice for 27 years. He currently practices at Hospice Buffalo and is affiliated with Bertrand Chaffee Hospital, Erie County Medical Center and Gates Vascular Institute.
He recently entered the public forum with his extraordinary 2015 TED talk, and is frequently interviewed in the media about his work with the dreams and visions of the dying.
Tune in every Monday for a new episode of EOLU! Until next week remember: