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Let’s Talk About Death 

The D word. The word that people avoid saying outright. Instead, we hear, They passed away or she passed on. We tell children he went to a better place; your grandfather went to sleep for a very long time.

Photo from Wix.

Arguably, our intentions are good: we are trying to soften the blow. 

Adults clearly understand what these euphemisms mean, but for children they can be confusing. 

Why do we use euphemisms to talk about death? Why are we often more comfortable with, when I kick the bucket or when I leave this good Earth than saying when I die? 

Could it be that the popular and common language use is but one example of a collective, societal unease regarding death? 

Some say North Americans live in a death-denying, death-phobic culture. Do you agree? 

What is your relationship with death? What does it mean to die well

It may be uncomfortable and difficult to contemplate.

What would your ideal death look like? How would you die? Where would you be? Who would be there with you? Would you be in the comfort of your own home or somewhere else? 

We don’t always get to choose where we die, but in cases of terminal illness, we may. Regardless, we can still make a plan.

And after you die? How would you like to be remembered? What legacy would you like to leave for your loved ones? What do you want to happen to your body after you die? 

These questions, although potentially challenging and emotionally painful to contemplate, are questions that can lead to a clearer understanding of your own wishes for the final days and hours of your own life. The answers can help shape a picture of your ideal death, and in turn, can help better ensure that you will die well. 

An end-of-life doula or death doula can assist you in answering these questions and making an individualized plan for you to help ensure that your wishes are met. While medical professionals can provide pain management and symptom management, end-of-life doulas can help support you and your family through the process of dying: they can help with planning, administrative tasks, legacy projects, vigils, and supporting you and your family through the wilderness of dying and death.

Anyone interested in becoming death doula can register for HHA's death doula certificate program here. The next available training weekend is September 6-8, 2024.

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