Beth Chapman died of throat cancer in June 2019 – she was 51 years old
if you are ready to move on, new lovers can feel intimidated by your grief, confused as to why you want to be with them while openly expressing love for someone else.
My heart was completely broken by the loss of my husband, Kevin, in 2006. It was in that situation that I began a sexual relationship with one of Kevin’s friends, the cliche of a shoulder to cry on that went further than it should.
Ian it was a bit strange at first, living in the walls and among the things that I had shared with Kevin
Kevin’s family have been especially understanding and they even came to mine and Ian’s wedding in 2015. We eventually decided that we were building a new life together, so we should get a new home together.
Kevin was my entire grown-up life between 18 and 40, so if I didn’t ever really talk about him, I couldn’t talk about myself. His legacy, to me, apart from teaching me how to love someone and be happily married for 20 years, is that I am now in a vocation that inspires me and helps other people to deal with grief.
Guilt and death
End-of-life planning can be even thornier. Nearly half of those surveyed would feel guilty not leaving enough of an inheritance for their family, 42% are unsure of the best way to structure an inheritance and nearly one-third don’t know how to even discuss the issue with family members. Thirty percent have set aside money for end-of-life care and a funeral. After Tara gave birth to the first of three children at 35, the couple quickly drafted wills, health directives and other documents and took out life insurance policies.
“You’re in the depths of grief, helping three children who were devastated,” she says.
The campaign, called Dying To Talk, saw participants speak about death with their family members over dinner at home. These conversations have been documented in a video series which was launched on Facebook on Saturday as part of a month-long campaign to get more people to talk about and plan for death. Their candid dinner table conversations often took an emotional turn as family members opened up and shared their feelings with one another. He told her about how his father’s death nearly 30 years ago hit him hard only days later, when he smelled his clothes in the closet.
She admitted that the conversation was at times “awkward”, because “usually I only express my feelings to my friends“. Over at the Yeo family, who also took part in the campaign, the conversations were similarly candid and heartfelt. “She added that the group was inspired by the international Death Over Dinner movement, which gets people to talk about end-of-life questions before it is too late. ” The students have also come up with a “Dabao Conversation Kit”, a guide for people who want to broach such topics at home.
The kit can be posted to members of the public on request, while a digital version can be found here. The foundation has helped start public education campaigns about dying, death and funerals in collaboration with various groups. These range from the Die-Die Must Say campaign, which roped in getai hosts, to the Talk Of A Lifetime conversation cards, which encourage people to sit down with their loved ones to talk about their lives. “End-of-life conversations should be normalised,” said Mr Ang, 39.
Asked what he hopes will change in the landscape, he said he would like to see schools do more to discuss death and dying with their students to help them understand the importance of time and relationships. Having funeral service halls across the island within residential estates would also allow the community to support the bereaved better, he added. Humanist celebrant Mark Adams is will host the event at Uplift cafe at Stretford Mall today, when people will be able to meet up to discuss what is often a taboo subject. The mall says the idea is to provide a relaxed atmosphere so people can talk around the issues people face concerning death, using conversation as a way to help people prepare emotionally, spiritually and practically for when they or their loved ones pass away.
Mark said the inaugural, one hour-long Death Café meeting from 3.30pm is open to anyone, and if successful then it will hopefully become a regular event. “”Death is a taboo subject. “Stretford’s first Death Café event will be held at 3.30pm on February 19, at Uplift café at Stretford Mall. ” “”Until we overcome our fear about talking about death,” the longtime NPR host says, “few of us can have the end of life we envision.
So, John Rehm, wracked by Parkinson’s disease, with a severely diminished quality of life, decided to starve himself to death. “”Until we overcome our fear about talking about death, few of us can have the end of life we envision. After signing off her talk show in 2016, she has immersed herself in the world of the terminally ill and studying the limited options available to those for whom palliative care is not the solution to their end-of-life misery. ” Everybody is,” says Rehm in her office at WAMU, where she hosts the podcast “On My Mind.” A February 2019 episode discussed end-of-life issues and why so many people’s end-of-life wishes are not realized.
Discussing Aid in Dying
It’s all part of an emerging national conversation about the right to die that Rehm has captured in her new book. A companion public TV documentary of the same name as her book to be presented by WETA in Washington, D. Some of the crowd had gathered at that church for a “death café,” part of a movement that began in Europe in 2004 in which people of all ages talk candidly about dying, their fears and hopes for the end of life. It’s a sign that America’s reluctance to bring death out of the shadows may be fading.
Each jurisdiction allows a patient who has no more than six months to live to request a lethal dose of medication as long as that person has the capacity to decide and can self-administer.
Changing Minds on Medical Aid in Dying
“Everyone is one bad death away from supporting the bill,” Pendergrass, a Democrat from Howard County, said during a news conference in January 2019. “The two biggest things that gave me pause were the concern about normalizing suicide and that some folks in the disabilities community believed aid in dying could be abused,” he told Rehm, who included his comments in her book. Joe Fab, producer and director of Rehm’s documentary, became interested in end-of-life issues after his sister and both his parents died within four years. “We are just too frozen up in this country, talking about death,” he says.
The Core Conflict
The question that remains unsettled in the context of the physician’s Hippocratic Oath is whether a doctor does more harm than good in writing a lethal prescription for a suffering, terminally ill patient. “”We’ve been so focused on living and accomplishing and moving forward that we don’t think about death as part of life. The Catholic Church and other religious groups have not given their blessing to medical aid in dying. Diane Rehm is quick to say she respects all opposing views, but remains steadfast in her support for the terminally ill individual choosing when his or her life should end.
Given six months to live with a brain tumor, Maynard moved to Oregon to take advantage of that state’s death-with-dignity law. 1, 2014 at 29, her videos promoting medical aid in dying went viral. “At the conclusion of Rehm’s book and documentary, she asks her grandson, Benjamin Zide, a Dartmouth sophomore studying medical ethics, to pick up his phone and take a video of her as she described what would be for her a “good death.
Rehm’s Take on the Subject
I ask that medication be mercifully administered to me for terminal suffering, even if it hastens the moment of my death. ’s Sixth & I synagogue, she recounted her mother’s suffering before dying at age 49 and how John Rehm’s father and mother committed suicide. So, the subject of death was part of the conversation at their dinner table, even before John was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
It’s here that fourth-generation funeral service provider Ang has one of his businesses, Flying Home Pte. With its pale green walls, skylights and high ceilings, Flying Home feels more like a modern-day chapel, if it wasn’t for the hidden embalming room. As family units have shrunk and become wealthier, there’s demand for a more bespoke approach. Ang said the broader group, Ang Chin Moh Funeral Directors, has grown on average 5% a year.
The funeral arrangement room in Flying Home, Singapore.
Death is proving lucrative in less conventional ways, too. Life settlements, sometimes known as death bonds, are also finding favor among Asia’s wealthy. Life-insurance companies typically offer customers a lump sum to relinquish their policy once they pass a certain age. The appeal is returns that aren’t correlated to the global economy because death, like taxes, is certain.
life settlements. “We’re not causing death because death comes naturally but we are benefiting the insured so they get fair price discovery.”.
That’s not to say that rare events like natural disasters or the recent Covid-19 outbreak, which can cause an upsurge in unexpected deaths, leads to added profit for businesses investing in the end of life. Funeral parlors, for example, have to ramp up costs and quarantine their teams taking care of the deceased. For Singapore’s Tsao clan, which made its fortune in shipping and property, taking the sting out of aging and death has been in the family for three generations. The Tsao family office, which funds the foundation, makes investments across asset classes within an ESG framework and the aims of both entities can coincide.
“We’re typically interested in education, health care, aging, longevity and then a few other things,” the younger Tsao said of the family office’s broader investments. Because the foundation favors community centers for the elderly and allowing people to age at home, it doesn’t back nursing facilities. “Socially there’s a lot of stigma around hospices and funeral parlors because people think it affects property prices.”.
Over time, attitudes toward death and dying have improved. A casket is displayed in the funeral services room. Showers, changing rooms and wireless internet might not seem important at a funeral parlor, but Ang says upgrades like those have helped attract the next generation of clients and employees. Family offices are particularly interested in funding the sector and eventually Ang would like to list part of the business.
An initial public offering would be a far cry from the small boy standing quiet and ashamed in a classroom. “We have taken death out of homes and communities and into hospitals over many years,” explained Janie, who has worked as a counsellor for cancer patients for more than 30 years. “”With the rise of the hospice movement, of course, we are making some progress in terms of talking about death and dying, but people still have an incredible amount of fear. “Like birth, some people want to be in a hospital and some want to be at home.
Inevitably, death will happen for all of us and maybe if we thought about it in the same way we think about birth it would help to ease our fears.”.
Genevieve Russell / Story Portrait Media
“With each story in the book, Janie expertly explores the sensitive topics of everything from talking to children about death to what actually happens to the body in its final minutes and seconds. ” And, in addition to the 20 people she has known personally, another character hovers ominously on the edge of each bedside – death itself. “”We often think of death as outside of ourselves. ” People see death as the Grim Reaper or we animate it in some way,” said Janie, who was raised in Scotland before emigrating to Canada in her 20s.
That in a way, from the first breath, death is with us. There’s a finite number of breaths in life, so if we could begin to grow familiar with the idea that death is walking with us in some way, it might not be as scary a presence. “”Maybe death doesn’t have to be terrifying, and maybe there’s some familiarity if it’s always been with us. Hoping to change the way we think about death and encourage discussions between family members, Janie also hopes her work will enable people to keep their loved one’s memories alive.
Some people just will find it too difficult to talk about death, so we can’t really prescribe it. “”What I really hope this book will do is actually help people to learn that death need not be a terrifying ordeal.
Patients with grave illness helped to recall and record memories to leave for their family
An innovative project is offering terminally ill people the opportunity to tell their life story as a legacy to their family. Under the scheme, called dignity therapy, people diagnosed with a life-limiting illness such as motor neurone disease are given the opportunity to record their story. Their memories are transcribed and edited before being shown to the patients for final approval. Copies are then produced and given to family or friends as per the patients’ wishes.
“The project sits at the heart of patient-centred care, giving people the chance to talk about the things that matter most to them as they near the end of their days and, in turn, producing something which will be cherished by their loved ones after they have passed away. “It offers them the opportunity to put in words the life they have lived and what has been important to them throughout their lifetime. It is also a legacy for their families to cherish when their loved one has died and they have that memory of the life their family member or friend had lived.
It would be nice if some day they can read about their gran’s life in her own words. She said she would be happy to have some of her story read out at her funeral. ” It did me a lot of good to talk and write about my life, which has been wonderful.” Americans don’t like talking about death.
Multiple experts told NCR that a century of expansions in the medical and funeral industries in the United States have led to a real distancing between the living and the dying. Prior to the 20th century, people used to die in their homes and family members were heavily involved in preparing the bodies for burial. Over time, as dying moved out of the home and out of the care of immediate family, death as a concept also moved largely out of mind for the average person. Death became taboo in American culture, labeled as “morbid,” something we fear rather than discuss.
Headlines enumerate death tolls and Twitter threads detail miserable battles against the virus. With limits on gatherings like funerals, the pandemic is ‘really going to impact the way that we’re able to find closure in the face of death, which is something that we already fear so much. Thomas Reese writes, “A pandemic makes it impossible not to think about death.” At the same time that death is surging in collective American consciousness, preventative restrictions to stop the spread of the virus are widening the existing physical gap between the dying and their families. Immediate family members are sometimes forced to miss the services, stuck in quarantine themselves.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that funerals limit the number of mourners physically present and livestream services to family and friends at home. Catholic dioceses around the country are enacting guidelines of their own to restrict funeral sizes. In Wisconsin, at Mary Flo Werner’s funeral, only her nine grandchildren and the priest were allowed inside their Catholic church to limit the gathering to ten, The New York Times reported March 25. This amounts to what Hannig calls a “cruel irony.” The pandemic is “really going to impact the way that we’re able to find closure in the face of death, which is something that we already fear so much,” she said.
For Catholics, the inability to be near loved ones at the end of life or gather together for funerals will be especially hard. ” “The funeral liturgy speaks about ‘the bonds we have formed in life. “‘ The funeral liturgy is rooted in the conviction that human beings are related and connected to one another,” he said.
When I prepared my first draft of my Advance Care Plan, which will guide my substitute decision maker through my wishes, values and care goals, I envisioned my eventual death well into the future. With COVID-19, however, one can’t assume one’s death will happen in the distant future because it could possibly come considerably sooner. ” We may have no idea what end-of-life options our parents or loved ones want when confronted with death because no party involved wants to talk about it,” . Some people are also not fearful to talk about death.
They want to be transparent about their death and anticipated needs around it.
The Last Letter
Peaking my interest, the concept of writing a last letter to the end-of-life team who would be tending to my end-of-life health needs some day, compelled me to consider what to actually include. “Sending a thank you note after someone’s death is a traditional part of funeral etiquette,” writes intuitive energy healer Karen Frazier. A more unusual, perhaps even rare letter is the last letter written to a physician, hospice, palliative, or home care team, written by the individual dying, not their loved ones after their death.
Reason for Writing to an End-of-Life Care Team
” These compassionate care providers are trained in the skills and clinical aspects of end-of-life but as one anonymous physician’s assistant disclosed to me recently, “While our medical care skills-based training is excellent, we’ve not been prepared for the emotional care of others or our own self-care around end-of-life.” Another conversation with a paramedic who has over twenty years of experience, and also wishes to remain anonymous, revealed, “We’re trained to save lives. ” We have not intentionally seen patients through to end-of-life in a palliative care approach.” That seems to be the past as “End-of-Life Paramedic Care Programs” are being piloted in Ontario according to the article, Palliative paramedic program to train thousands in end-of-life care . If a physician’s assistant and a paramedic feel under-trained and not equipped to adequately deal with the emotional impact of working through end-of-life situations with patients, it is reasonable that others in health care do too.
Perspective from Which to Write the Last Letter
in her article, Death and the Conspiracy of Silence, gently shares, “We all have our issues around death that make us uncomfortable,” .
What to Include
“1 / Salutation – “Dear Medical Team. “2 / What death means to you – “Death doesn’t scare me because I believe a new adventure is awaiting me. I believe my soul will return to energy and back into the universe.” 3 / What life meant to you – “In case I die unexpectedly, or before my time, I want you to know that I’ve lived a full and good life. Let that be of solace to you that I am very okay with the choice I have made about end-of-life care and my death.” 6 / Release from responsibility, forgiveness because they may need to feel forgiven even if you don’t think there is a need to forgive – “Please don’t despair over my death because these end-of-life instructions are my decision.
With the appearance of COVID-19 and its devastating impact on young and old, healthy or chronically ill, there is one thing about death that is in one’s realm of control. For me, it is telling my loved ones ahead of time that I’ve truly enjoyed my life, and that I regret nothing. It is also in my control to tell the health and medical team that cared for me and did their best, the gratitude I have to them for their care. This unprecedented time prompts us to talk about death, to talk about our own deaths.
“Death and dying aren’t easy, but we could do much better as a society at dealing with both. We need to stop making death such an isolating experience. Euthanasia, i. mercy killing, refers to the act of painlessly putting to death a person who is either very old or very ill to prevent further pain and suffering.
It is basically a practice that is done on people suffering from incurable diseases or incapacitating physical disorder wherein they are allowed to die by the withdrawal of artificial life support system or withholding of medical treatment. On 9th March 2018, the Supreme Court of India, in a historical decision, legalised passive euthanasia and the right of terminally ill persons to give advance directives for refusal of medical treatment. Therefore, the concept of ‘living will’ was recognised which essentially refers to the document that the person writes in a normal state of mind seeking passive euthanasia when he reaches an irreversible vegetative state or when he gets terminally ill.
Active Euthanasia refers to the deliberate act of ending the life of a terminally ill or incurable patient through the administration of a legal drug or injection by the physician. Passive Euthanasia is the withdrawal or withholding of artificial life support system when the patient requests to do so or when prolonging of his life is termed futile. Indirect Euthanasia means the provision of treatment with an aim to reduce pain and suffering, but which eventually speeds up the process of death. In India, passive euthanasia was legalised two years back.
Euthanasia in India: The Aruna Shanbaug Case and the Common Cause Judgement
The case of Aruna Shanbaug has been quite instrumental in changing the euthanasia laws in India. Virani’s plea got rejected but at the same time, broad guidelines were issued legalising passive euthanasia in India. It was held that the decision to withdraw life support must be taken by parents, spouse or other close relatives in the absence of all of whom, the ‘next’ friend would be entrusted with the responsibility. Aruna Shanbaug, after 42 years of constant suffering died of pneumonia at the age of 66 but not before playing a vital role in influencing upcoming euthanasia-related laws in India.
Right to Life. Additionally, they requested the court to give directions to the government with regards to the execution of living wills in case a person gets terminally ill.
Euthanasia- a good or a bad thing?
The proponents of Euthanasia argue that allowing an incurable patient to die will alleviate the constant pain and suffering that one has to go through when in the vegetative state. This does not fit with the kind of social and cultural environment that we have in India, where parents are supposed to be provided with care when they get too old. Also, the opponents lay emphasis on the sanctity of life and reckon that accepting euthanasia would lead to a reduction in society’s respect for life.
Benefits of recognising Living Will
Passive Euthanasia could sometimes, in exceptional circumstances, lead to the allegations of murder so the existence of a living will have a role to play in preventing such situations. In and all, the legalisation of ‘living will’goes a long way in effective implementation of the laws of euthanasia in India.
In the course of this article, we tried to explain with clarity the concepts of euthanasia as well as ‘living will’. We listed out the arguments of both the proponents as well as the opponents of euthanasia and also mentioned how the ‘living will’ is going to have a positive impact. As far as the living will is concerned, it is definitely going to simplify the entire process of euthanasia.
After Life 2: Ricky Gervais reveals “rare” and “emotional” responses he’s received from fans
Ricky Gervais has reflected on the unexpected impact his After Life series has had on audiences. Asked about the impact the series has had, Gervais revealed that he received over 300 letters in the first week of the first season being aired, and he still gets people coming up to him and opening up about their grief now. “”I think there’s too much of people worrying about taboo subjects and that’s why they stay taboo, and I think that just laughing in the face of adversity is good for you. After Life season 2 is available on Netflix from Friday 24 April.
What explains the current taboo on topics regarding the coronavirus?
Similarly taboo was questioning the notion that everyone who died with COVID-19 died because of it, even when the dying and the deceased were not tested for the virus and the methodology of ascertaining causes of death seemed too often reinvented or changed weekly. Yet nearly the entire scientific community had agreed that the real number of those infected by the virus could be 10 times or more than the misleadingly precise number of positive tests. When some frontline physicians, or a rough sampling of patients, or preliminary studies suggested that in some pre-ventilator cases hydroxychloroquine seemed efficacious in treating the virus, even the use of a medicine prompted a weaponized debate.
– That man is dead to me. – He’s dead to all of us. He’s dead. Canadian artist Justin Tyler Tate thinks you should get inside a coffin and take a photo.
As part of the DesignTO Festival , Tate designed a prototype for a real cardboard coffin that participants can lie inside – #coffinselfies are encouraged – and instructions on how to build your own version. “Under normal circumstances, most people would feel uncomfortable about lying in a coffin, but this exhibition creates a socially acceptable space,” says Tate. The death of Tate’s grandmother inspired his exhibition, DIYing Free, which was originally conceived a few years ago during an art residency in Lithuania. “Her death made me reflect on the ecological and material footprint each death leaves,” he says.
While traditional burial rituals are harmful to the environment – formaldehyde embalming fluid is toxic and wooden caskets with plastic linings never decompose – Tate chose cardboard for his DIY coffin because it’s cheap, strong and biodegrades quickly. Meant as a way to spark discussions between the medical profession and the art and design community, the series also features the two-day symposium, Death And Dying, which includes discussions and workshops on topics like funeral planning and the architecture of hospices. Ghost Stories, a two-part collaborative exhibition by OCADU graduate students Kristi Poole-Adler and Ellen Snowball, explores stories of loss and grief within families. “The installation features several “clues” that offer insight into Snowball’s personal story, including a phone that rings and plays an audio clip of Snowball and her mother speaking about her illness and fears of going into a hospice, a TV that shows glimpses of videos of the two them together and a projection of her mother’s outline moving through the space with her walker. ”
Using nostalgia as a way to cope with that grief, she’s created a large-scale textile mural made up of old family photographs transferred onto pieces of second-hand materials like bedsheets, curtains and handkerchiefs that resemble fabrics she had from her childhood. While they both recognize that death is seen as a taboo topic, they hope their works can help break down the stigma and be a catalyst for more open discussions. “Creating a dialogue is a way to raise awareness and change the way that health organizations treat people who are suffering,” says Snowball. ” “These kind of medical organizations don’t just concern elderly people.
Procrastination holding people back
The average person waits until the age of 74 to discuss their will. The major reason holding people back is procrastination – 45% admit they simply haven’t got around to it while one in five confess they don’t like talking about death. Two-fifths of potential beneficiaries haven’t yet had a conversation with their parents about their will.
Many avoid the topic
In the West, we can feel it’s taboo to face our mortality or be open about money, so we procrastinate and dissemble. “It’s a safe place to talk about death,” says Karuna Duval, an ordained interfaith minister, hospice chaplain, certified death doula and one of many volunteer facilitators hosting Death Cafes in and around the city. Duval has hosted Death Cafes in Washington and California, where she used to live, and estimates 7,200 Death Cafes have now taken place in 52 countries worldwide. “I just found it so fascinating because of the experience of so many people,” says Duval of attending her first Death Cafe in 2012 in California, following the deaths of her father, grandmother, partner and first husband.
Such open discourse hadn’t been evident 10 years before, when Duval, inspired by a book titled Talking About Death Won’t Kill You, tried to organize her own workshops to foster end-of-life discussions and planning. “It felt like a relief,” says Duval, who was seeking to process all the loss in her life. A remove from death that has happened because so many people now die in hospitals, not at home. The superstitious notion that talking about death might hasten the event.
” “If somebody has a terminal diagnosis, having end-of-life conversations will extend their life. “Our underlying “death anxiety” was the key focus of the late scholar, author and roving professor Ernest Becker, whose seminal book, The Denial of Death, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974. ” “I would posit that the death-positive movement is founded on Ernest Becker’s thinking,” says Jacobs of the growing swell of Death Cafes, death dinners and other efforts in recent years to reclaim the ways in which we talk and think about death, actions that echo the foundation’s longstanding efforts to bring our underlying awareness of death to the forefront. To Becker, who saw death anxiety as a key driver in everything from religion and culture to our choices of partners and jobs, knowledge of our inevitable passing also drives each person to embark on an “immortality project,” or a quest to fill our lives with meaning.
“The medical system became part of what was already the underlying denial of death,” says James, describing a system in which doctors don’t talk to their patients about death or dying. James’ solution was to create a four-part series of end-of-life workshops and a documentary film, Speaking of Dying, which follows patients, families and medical professionals through various end-of-life options, including Washington state’s “Death with Dignity” law. Screened at churches, senior homes and other venues in Seattle since debuting at the Frye Art Museum in 2015, the film always draws attendees, including doctors and hospital chaplains who’ve never discussed death with their own families, says James, describing the documentary as an instant conversation starter.
These coaches help ease the end of life As more people decide to die at home, death doulas, also known as end-of-life doulas or death midwives, guide patients and their families through the end-of-life process in a way similar to how regular midwives would assist with home births. Death doulas play various roles, from offering patients comfort and companionship in their final days to supporting the family by performing basic caregiving tasks, assisting with funeral planning and helping loved ones grieve. “It’s not to replace any of the components of hospice,” says Karuna Duval, a hospice chaplain who is also a death doula, of the two programs’ complementary functions. The International End of Life Doula Association , founded in 2015, is just one of many organizations offering training and accreditation to anyone interested in joining this budding movement.
The medical community could learn something from Elizabeth Coplan, a playwright who four years ago was struggling to cope with the death of a cousin, a freak accident that claimed a loved one and octogenarian in-laws so fearful of dying they refused to entertain any end-of-life discussions. That exercise resulted in The Grief Dialogues, a series of short plays structured like The Vagina Monologues, but with actors exploring scenarios centered on grief, death and dying. The 90-minute production, which invites a grief counselor on stage to lead an audience Q&A after every show, immediately resonated with people, says Coplan, who credits the play’s passive, third-party presentation as a safe way to broach a taboo topic. It was while applying for grants for her production that Coplan came across The Order of the Good Death, a Los Angeles–based group of funeral-industry insiders, academics and artists seeking to promote a culture of “death positivity.” She was especially taken by the group’s Death Salon, a weekend conference on mortality styled in the vein of an 18th-century gathering of intellectuals, so much so that she volunteered to bring the event to Seattle.
“It was kind of like a Comic-Con for death,” says Coplan, recalling the Victorian-style hairstyles, makeup and dress on display during the sold-out affair, which took place early in September 2017, in partnership with the UW School of Social Work. The event marked an important turning point for Seattle’s death community by uniting the diverse leaders of a fragmented movement that had so far existed on the relative fringe. Presentations were delivered by Chanel Reynolds, whose husband’s untimely death led her to found GYST , a website introducing others to the easily avoided world of wills and life insurance. “People who are into this, they’re hungry for it,” says Jacobs of the Ernest Becker Foundation, describing the Death Salon as a “critical community builder,” which has a mission similar to the foundation’s of providing “a home” for like-minded seekers.
The success of the Death Salon conference is one indication of our region’s relative death positivity, which could be attributed to the sheer number of innovators working in this space. “The good-death movement, or the death-positivity movement, used to be defined by a couple of individuals,” says Hebb. “In many Asian cultures, that idea of integrating daily thinking about death is actually part of the spiritual condition as opposed to the dominant avoidance that we have here in the United States.” Social media, which makes it easier than ever to find and share information, also factors into the death-positive movement’s recent swell. “I think more of us are talking about death and grief in a very open way,” says Coplan, describing today’s conversations about death as less a “macabre, voyeur” issue and more of an academic one, even if society still has some way to go.
“I actually give the millennials a lot of credit for this kind of chipping away of the stigma around talking about death,” says Coplan, who has two millennial sons and meets plenty more at her shows. “They are incredulous that their parents are getting so worked up and don’t want to talk about death,” she says, describing the younger generation’s lack of fear regarding what they know to be a natural eventuality. “We talk about sex, we talk about drugs, why don’t we talk about death?”.
Why Talk About Death?
There are lots of good reasons to talk about death, and not only because such discussion helps us prepare for the inevitable. Completing your advance directive, a set of legal documents that detail your last wishes, and communicating its contents and location to loved ones clarifies your thoughts on life support and other medical interventions. Sharing your post-life wishes up front removes any guesswork involving the funeral, which, pending legislation scheduled for the upcoming January session in Olympia, could soon extend beyond the standard burial and cremation options to include alkaline hydrolysis, a water-based cremation also known as “aquamation,” and recomposition, a natural process that converts human remains into soil. “The people that tend to have the hardest times are ones that didn’t have any conversation, therefore there was absolutely no preparation for it,” says Menkin, whose organization, in addition to regular end-of-life planning workshops, furnishes each of its 70,000-plus members with end-of-life planning documents that double as excellent conversation starters.
The taboo that surrounds cancer is still intense. That taboo still turns initial diagnosis, even of the commonest and most curable cancers such as breast, bowel, lung and prostate, into a devastating blow that can be treated as a premonition of death by family and friends. It does not leave people “in remission”, with the veil of death still hovering over them. The image of cancer as an invading army, an immortal alien no human body can resist, derives in part from the failure of medical research to find a “cure”.
Around 13,000 people a week die in the UK, plunging friends and loved ones into a sea of often painful emotions. Chuckle said he wanted to encourage a country whose attitude to death remained clouded by awkwardness to open up about grief and share memories of loved ones they had lost. The comedian’s decision to speak out, on behalf of Marie Curie, the charity for the terminally ill, comes amid warnings that “society as a whole has never been less exposed to death“. Almost half of people polled by Dying Matters, a coalition of organisations including hospices, care homes and charities focused on bereavement, said talking about death scared them and 15% thought talking about death might make it happen.
“It is rare now for anyone to experience being with someone who they know is dying let alone anyone who has recently died,” said Toby Scott, head of communications at Hospice UK, a charity for end-of-life care. ” “We used to be much better than this, when death was more familiar to us. “Declining death rates have left what academics studying death at Bath University have described as an “enormous first-hand experiential gap”, leaving us unprepared for death’s social and economic consequences. ” During a career that took off in 1985 when he and his older brother Barry created the ChuckleHounds using dog costumes from It’s a Knockout and peaked with the 22-year run of their TV show ChuckleVision, Chuckle has experienced more grief than most.
So a few days after Barry’s funeral Paul and his wife went away for a fortnight in Shanghai. He enjoyed a recent weekend touring the North Yorkshire moors in a Mercedes minibus with friends including Adam Woodyatt, who plays Ian Beale in EastEnders and Nick Thomas, the UK’s leading pantomime producer. Jason Davidson manages the bereavement service for Marie Curie’s Hampstead hospice in north London.
Preparing for death and grief: some practical advice
If you are a friend or loved one of someone dying, talk about the impact you anticipate from their death and think about the person not being around. It might be distressing, but research suggests anticipatory grief can improve the experience of grief after death. Talk about your feelings with your own friends and family. If you get support for yourself you can provide better support to the person who is dying.
Eat and sleep well because supporting a dying person can be exhausting. After a loved one’s death, for some seeing the body can help. Take part in the rituals around the funeral and reach out to family and friends. Ask for help with practicalities and friends of people grieving should make sure to offer help.
Surprisingly, 45% of mums and dads with adult children felt that their wills were private and should not be discussed with their families. “”Talking about dying is ‘taboo’ and it is not always easy to bring it up.
The canonisation of Maar through the lens of her nine-year relationship with Picasso comes as no surprise considering the deeply embedded sexism of the art world. But what classic representations of Maar glaze over is an entire body of deeply psychological, surrealist photography that heralded the surrealist idea of the interior world.
Courtesy of Roger Ballen
This is tricky because it threatens to turn art into nothing more than psychological symptom… I want neither to romanticise death nor to contribute to an essentializing view of ‘the suicided artist. ’ Not all of Woodman’s work concerns death, but I believe her preoccupation with it permeates her understanding of photography. ” Indeed, it is my contention that her interest in death allows us to glimpse an unusual view of what death and art, together and separately, might mean.” Phelan argues that Woodman’s exploration of death resides in her unique use of techniques, focusing on her tendency to blur her self-image to elicit ghostly like self-portraits where Woodman almost vanishes. The tender scene may be familiar to people in Western countries, but in China, it’s rare for people to experience this kind of end-of-life care.
Although hospices have existed in China since 1987 and, according to the national health authority, the country had around 2,300 hospice organizations by June 2017, they generally remain in developed cities, inaccessible to most. Compared with the United States, where nearly half of all deaths in 2011 occurred in hospices, the majority of Chinese people either die at home or in hospitals, many of which lack adequate palliative care facilities. In addition, deep-seated taboos about death prevent many families from discussing hospice care with dying relatives, making it even harder for them to pass away in greater comfort. Founded in 2012, the hospital houses one of Shanghai’s first hospice units covered by the public health care system.
Today, 76 similar facilities serve thousands of patients across the city, specially designed to provide people with much-needed affordable palliative care during their final days. Chengjiaqiao also offers patients and their families access to social workers and psychological counseling from both in-house staff and a local NGO, Chunhui. To date, the hospice has served more than 1,000 patients and their families. The first floor at Chengjiaqiao Community Health Service Center accommodates terminally ill patients with non-cancer diseases, Shanghai, March 5, 2019.
The role of social workers can be even more important than that of doctors, because they provide more psychological support for patients. Every Tuesday, Zhao comes to Chengjiaqiao, chats with the new arrivals at the hospice, and spends quality time with the patients who most need help. ” “Sometimes this is a problem, because we can’t talk with patients on a deeper level, but we respect families’ choices. ” And we do our best to ensure patients live their remaining days with dignity,” the 23-year-old tells Sixth Tone.
Inside a hospice ward in Shanghai, March 17, 2018. The Shanghai municipal government has sought to give social workers a role in hospices since incorporating end-of-life care into the public system in 2012. However, public awareness of social work remains low, and although no official data exists on the total number of full-time social workers per capita, it is assumed to be significantly lower than in many Western countries. Chunhui was established a decade ago to focus mainly on end-of-life services, and still only employs five full-time social workers, relying on a rolling roster of between 10 and 20 volunteers.
“In a good year, we serve around 60 patients, 100 families, and quite a few nurses,” Wang says, explaining that hospice staff often seek counseling after seeing so many patients pass away each day. Many patients only spend a week or so with us, because their families don’t bring them in until they lose consciousness or are very obviously dying, and they don’t want them to die at home. Funding for social work is a chronic problem, Wang says. So they turn to organizations like Chunhui, which raises funds by allying with private foundations, soliciting donations from corporate social responsibility projects, and going cap in hand to local civil affairs authorities.
Xiong, the daughter of a patient at Chengjiaqiao who also withheld her full name for privacy reasons, believes it’s hard to convince people that social work is worth paying for. “I think it’s better if the government pays for services like this, or at least tries to cover it as part of the public medical insurance scheme,” she says. Exacerbating their existing budgetary constraints, hospice facilities across China are reportedly struggling to balance their books. Health service centers do not profit from prescribing pain-relief drugs to patients, even though they do charge for accommodation fees.
Even though the municipal government gives each hospice 10,000 yuan per bed every year and district-level authorities sometimes beef up budgets with additional subsidies, Chengjiaqiao still relies on other hospital departments to make up the shortfall. ” These all cost money and our greatest expenses are for labor,” Wu says, adding that she believes stronger government support for hospice departments will be necessary if end-of-life services are to continue to operate and expand. A map outside Chengjiaqiao Health Service Center, Shanghai, March 5, 2019. Social taboos around death and dying also prevent people from engaging with hospice care, says Wu.
She estimates that she sees around 130 patients pass away in her care every year, but few people in the wider community come to Chengjiaqiao in the first place. When Wu approaches the families of people who have been recommended to seek palliative care, many of them resist admission to Chengjiaqiao. ” “In most people’s eyes, hospice care means giving up the ghost. It means making their relatives wait for death.
“Many community centers don’t have a single full-time social worker, let alone three,” she says. Lou Yifan, a doctorate student in hospice-care social work at Columbia University and former volunteer and social worker in Shanghai’s hospices between 2012 and 2016, says Xiong’s suggestion is what’s practiced in the U. “In the American hospice system, the government pays for all social work fees, even though patients have to pay for caregivers’ services that come at even higher prices,” she tells Sixth Tone, adding that, in addition to psychological and crisis intervention, social workers in the U. “The stereotype in Shanghai is that they’re all fussy older women working as community volunteers,” she says. A volunteer reads a book in an activity room designed for counseling sessions for families of hospice patients at Chengjiaqiao Community Health Service Center, Shanghai, March 5, 2019. ” “It’s quite common to see that many older patients have very limited interaction with their children.
Miriam’s Dead Good Adventure, a two-part series coming to BBC Two, will see the 77-year old confront and ponder her own mortality. “”Miriam openly admits to being terrified about ageing and death and feels the English way of dealing with it is ‘unsatisfactory – it’s unacknowledged and unwelcome. “”A keen swimmer, she’d like to dive into death like the sea but to find a different journey towards her final destination she must conquer her fear of ‘the end’. “To discover how to have a good life all the way to the end and beyond,” the channel added.
Miriam’s Dead Good Adventure will air on BBC Two. In the United States, physician-assisted suicide is considered taboo. On March 7, the Maryland House of Delegates unexpectedly approved a controversial bill allowing the terminally ill to seek medical aid for death. Eric Luedtke delivered an emotional testimony disclosing the intense physical pain his mother endured during the last few days of her life after being diagnosed with late-stage esophageal cancer.
Luedtke’s brave testimony emphasized the importance of the patient’s opinion when deliberating suicide. While euthanasia is pretty universally viewed as crossing certain ethical boundaries, the debate surrounding physician-assisted suicide is significantly more murky. There is something morally questionable about denying patients in excruciating and incurable pain the ability to determine how they want to live the last days of their lives. article published in Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, the authors illustrate this point using slavery as an example, refuting their earlier point.
While freedom is technically greater for a slave than a corpse, it has an inconsequential impact on their life because they are very unlikely to exercise any of that freedom. In addition, if you weigh every infringement upon freedom as detrimental to the person’s welfare, then ultimately slavery is a worse fate than death. Pain is often subjective, and can be influenced by a variety of factors including mental health issues. Kevin Hu is a freshman physiology and neurobiology major.
A tree, chosen either by the deceased prior to their death or by the family is then planted above the burial site. “In a culture that is far removed from nature, overloaded with objects, and focused on youth, death is often dealt with as a taboo,” said Citelli and Bretzel. “”The biological life cycle and its transformations are the same for every living being.
By planting a tree which is fertilised by the decomposing pod, the designers want to “change our approach to death” and provide a sustainable alternative to traditional burial methods, which can be damaging to the environment. “A tree takes between 10 and 40 years to reach maturity so using a wooden coffin has a strong environmental impact,” they explained. Once planted, the tree is secured with a GPS tracker so that relatives of the deceased person can find the tree with ease. “Capsula Mundi doesn’t have any religious implication and the project has been understood and accepted by people from all over the world, from different cultures and faiths,” said the designers.
In a similar bid to make death more sustainable, Shaina Garfield created an eco-friendly coffin that uses fungus to biodegrade the body so that it decomposes quickly and fertilises the surrounding soil. THE HEARTBREAK of losing two male members of their family has spurred mum and daughter duo Tracey Edge and Melissa Rawlings to help spare another family the same pain.
ALSO READ: Male suicide – Oxfordshire psychiatrist urges men to speak out
Approximately a year after Andrew’s death Marcus got referred to a counsellor and Tracey went with him, but felt it was detrimental to his state of mind rather than helping. Then, about fifteen months after Andrew’s death, Marcus posted on Facebook saying how unhappy he was and that he didn’t want to be here. Distraught, Tracey raced home in tears. In time, Marcus seemed to be doing better and as the family moved to Bicester Marcus and Melissa worked together in a bar, he had a girlfriend, a good group of friends and seemed happy.
“It was in April 2013, Marcus broke his right arm and couldn’t go skiing with friends, drive, or trial for the Army which his mum said started the ‘downward spiral’. ” On April 8, 2013, Tracey left for work while Marcus was asleep before receiving a call later that day from a friends mum saying Marcus had sent a goodbye text.
“The pair had found out that Marcus attempted to book a doctors appointment that same day, before taking his life in the same way as his dad. ” .
Lisa Leas | York Daily Record
$45M cancer care expansion at Apple Hill Health Campus Douglas Arbittier, vice president of oncology/hematology for WellSpan talks about the expansion project at Apple Hill Medical Campus. , comes from his best-selling book, “Being Mortal,” and one of his central themes focuses on how, as a society, we have made death a “taboo” subject – something we just don’t talk about. As we observe National Healthcare Decisions Week , let’s all commit to breaking this taboo. Let’s commit to having the conversation about advance care planning.
We have allowed generations to avoid sharing or discussing their end-of-life wishes, even with those closest to them. As a result, many of us experience fear and angst at the prospect of end-of-life conversations that could be reduced by simply taking time to talk about it while we’re healthy. At WellSpan Health, we call it “Horizon Planning” because everyone has a health horizon, an end of their life, and we should plan for it. That’s why we recommend patients have the conversation about end-of-life care with their loved ones.
In my role as a WellSpan health coach, I tell patients that their advance care plan is like an accordion – they can make it as big or as little as they want – it’s all up to them. The beauty of an advance care plan is that it becomes part of your electronic health record and can be accessible by your health care providers anywhere, at any time. We also have it available on our MyWellSpan online patient portal, so patients can download their plan into the app and have it in the palm of their hand. That’s why it’s so important to have the conversation with your loved ones.
They need to know your end-of-life wishes. Recently, a patient completing her planning documents said to me, “My family keeps buying me roses, but I like daisies!” She put her preference for daisies in her plan. When a loved one is unsure of the patient’s wishes, important decisions are often delayed – and it can be heart-wrenching. So let’s break the taboo together.
Have the conversation with your loved ones today. Lisa Leas is a health coach with WellSpan Internal Medicine. A NEW club is hoping to challenge the taboo surrounding death – by allowing people to decorate their own coffin. Coffin Club Colchester helps people plan and budget their funeral – and even allows them to adorn their own coffin with whatever they please.
“Once complete the coffins can be broken back down and taken home with families. ” The club, which is free to attend, aims to debunk the myths surrounding death and funerals. “The trouble is a lot of people don’t talk about death and the family is left totally bewildered,” Jenny said. “”They may feel pushed down a path that doesn’t reflect that person.
“”I look at death as a natural process. It’s such a taboo subject but it should be an honest and open conversation. “”I think Coffin Club attracts a certain type of person, it’s not for everybody as some people still like the idea of traditional funerals. Patron actress Miriam Margolyes visited the Hastings base and designed her own coffin while filming Miriam’s Dead Good Adventure for BBC2 sees Miriam at Coffin Club Hastings decorating her own coffin.
Miriam starts her journey at Wren Hall, a UK dementia care home, to see what getting old might actually look like. She also attends a Coffin Club in Hastings and tries a IKEA-like flat-pack coffin for size.
In America, Miriam meets people who are trying to achieve unlimited lifespans by thinking and feeling differently about death. She joins the world’s largest gathering of radical life extension enthusiasts at the Revolution Against Ageing and Death Festival in California. Thousands of people are willing to go to extreme lengths to avoid ageing with radical medical and technological advances. Loma Linda, near San Diego, is one of the world’s five Blue Zones where people live longer than anyone else on earth.
It’s also home to over 9,000 Seventh Day Adventists – strict believers in healthy living and a devotion to God. At the Church Of Perpetual Life in Florida, Miriam meets a community who are devoted to science rather than God.
What does Margolyes say about her film?
” “My discovery was that the end of life doesn’t have to be the end of joy. “Some express contempt when I tell them I work with the dead, and my parents haven’t been completely supportive, either,” she said. The erosion of the family unit, meanwhile, has seen a surge in single-person households, especially among the elderly. This has also led to a reported rise in kodokushi , a phenomenon where those living alone are found dead at their home, often going unnoticed for days and even weeks.
While the demographic trend may appear to be promising for the funeral industry, the truth isn’t that simple. Funeral prices have been falling as the number of deaths climb, in line with growing demand for smaller, simpler rituals. ” “Many don’t want to splurge on flowers, gifts for funeral attendees or on the many other options funeral parlors offer. The 52-year-old’s company is subcontracted by larger funeral businesses that commission work.
Mizusaki shared pictures from his smartphone showing before and after images of a dead man who had lost part of his jaw and neck. The body is gently rinsed and hair shampooed for the purpose of cleansing or purifying the pollution of death. “There’s a moment when family members step out of the room while the deceased is being undressed and orifices are blocked with cotton, leaving the yukanshi alone with the body,” he said. “”But instead of becoming careless, the yukanshi I’ve seen gently talked to the dead as if they were their living relatives.
Takemichi Odajima, who has researched yukanshi, a term for a ritual mortician, tries out a coffin in Osaka in July 2018. Respecting the dead and their dignity is vital to the occupation. Mizusaki has been in the funeral business for three decades, first as a temporary worker for funeral operators, before launching his own company 10 years ago. “Who would have known I’d be dealing daily with the dead,” he said.
When the two finished and invited the dead man’s son into the room to examine his late father, he burst into tears. “”Upon seeing his father, the son cried and said he found no comfort in the sutras that Buddhist priests chanted for his dead father. As for Nakajima, who is mother to a child who started middle-school in April, an occasion arose some time ago to showcase what she does to her family. “”I changed her clothes and applied makeup while my family watched.
The text of this article was generated by the Breaking The Silence system that collected 51 news articles posted on the web from January 2019 to September 2020 and clustered for the taboo subject of death