Death Doula Jill Schock on ‘The Perfect Death’

Each body has its own way of shutting down due to illness or injury. In a natural death, your breathing will simply slow until it stops. That is out of our control. Eventually all of our bodies will wear down to nothing more than ashes and dust. But American culture struggles with accepting mortality. We don’t like to age; we don’t like ugly. Unfortunately, neither idealizing nor ignoring death will make it go away.

Of Death, Humor & Chickens

Somewhere along the line, I developed this theory that all jokes are simply little brushes with death. Man walks down the street whistling, slips on a banana peel and falls. He’s strolling along, ‘I wonder where you get a good sandwich around here’ and smack! He finds himself face to face with his mortality; bruising tailbone, and ego, alike.

At the Bedside: What’s It Like?

In the Victorian era, birth and death happened at home, so people knew more or less what to expect. But that’s not true for us! And because we don’t talk much about death and dying we are left with whispered stories, scenes from movies, and random bits that cross social media.

Living on a Timeline

We all wonder what we’ll do, how we’ll react, if (or when) we receive news of our own or a loved one’s terminal diagnosis—and how we’ll go on living when we have that information.

Teaching Doctors to Say When

Why do so many doctors feel that giving more treatment is the only way they can express their care and commitment?

Plan for Death As Though It’s a Birth

Sheila Kitzinger was a “champion of women’s rights in childbirth.” She spent her career pioneering birth plans that secured choice and autonomous control for women giving birth.

Love with the End in Sight

There’s nothing comfortable about considering that the people we love most in the world are eventually going to die. The alternative, though—ignoring that it will, indeed, happen one day—can leave us in a much less workable spot.

How to Say Good-Bye

What does it mean to offer words of candour, reassurance and love when we’re communicating with those who are facing the end of their lives?

Before I Die, I Want to ___________

When Joan, a close friend to New Orleans designer Candy Chang died, the artist and urban planner was moved to invent and create the “Before I Die” wall on the side of an abandoned house in her neighborhood, using chalkboards and chalk.

Examining Life, Looking Straight at Death

WNYC Radio’s program Radiolab recently presented an episode all about mortality—it’s thought-provoking and embedded with fascinating questions, starting with “Do we have to die?” and ending with “How do we deal with dying?”