Stories We Love

We don’t endorse every point of view in these stories but respect them and offer them up in the spirit of reclaiming death as a rich, challenging, rewarding, exhausting, heartbreaking, heart-filling, integral part of our human journey.

Of Death, Humor & Chickens

By Kelly MacLean 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...

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Netflix ‘Afterlife Sci-Fi Dramas’ Not All Fiction

Fans of the Netflix sci-fi thrillers The OA and The Discovery, both of which weave tales of scientists researching the afterlife, may be shocked to know it’s not just...

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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...

Body
Where Do “We” Go?

The relationship between our brain, our mind, and our body is a dazzling conundrum. Could understanding more about what happens as we die bring us greater insight into...

Body
Have You Met BJ Miller?
Mind
Living on a Timeline

Read more about Nora and Aaron’s story here.   And check out Nora McInerny Purmort’s memoir, It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool, Too).

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Teaching Doctors to Say When

“Over the years realized that her oncologist was unwilling—in her view, unable—to talk to her about the “what-ifs?” of her cancer,” says Meier, who is the director of...

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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. And in...

Community
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...

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How to Say Good-Bye
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Before I Die, I Want to ___________

Track the BEFORE I DIE walls around the world here. or on Twitter, here.

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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...

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Lessons from Hospice

What Comes Next and How to Like It is a memoir by Abigail Thomas that’s not particularly about death or dying. But it is, without a doubt, about the...

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How Learning About Death Changed My Life

Tracy Picha, When You Die's associate producer, has had a few changes in her life since learning, considering, wondering about mortality. Far from a macabre pursuit, it's rekindled friendships...

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It’s Time for a “Safe Dying” Act

Ira Byock, a palliative care physician, is the author of three books: Dying Well; The Four Things That Matter Most; and The Best Care Possible. Here he makes a...

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A Record in Photographs

“We are scared of death and I think that is in large part because we hide it away, out of sight and avoid it until we have to,” says...

Community
In the Aftermath of Tragedy

The Basics of dealing with sudden loss from the National Empowerment Center

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Do We Need “Closure”?

In Nancy Berns’s presentation, “Beyond Closure: The Space Between Joy and Grief,” she asks the question, “When bad things happen, do we need closure?” Berns says no. She...

Community
A Funeral Director Cares for a Friend

In this personal account from funeral director Nora Menkin, caring for the body of a dead friend opened up an opportunity for a heartfelt good-bye.

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Breast Implants: You Can’t Take ‘Em With You

https://www.youtube.com/embed/6w_Idqdeutg

Body
A Matter of Death and Life

At the precipice of the next big phase of their own lives, these senior-year high school students learned about death, compassion, and how contemplating the end of life...

Community
Inviting Death Back into Polite Society

https://vimeo.com/110604444

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A Child Shows Us How to Mourn

"You can trust a human being with grief," Braestrup tells us. We know what to do.

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End of Life Doula

Anna is an End of Life Doula. She brings with her the tools we need to face death, whether it be our own or a loved one. Much...

Community
Conversations About Death

Out of the UK, Diealog has as its stated mission, “to talk openly, and sometimes laugh as well as cry, too, about our shared vulnerability as we ALL...

Community
New Burial Grounds

Considering what happens to our bodies and the bodies of our loved ones after death is a new thing for many of us. Often, we don’t start thinking...

Body
Making Peace with Death

“It’s not so much a question of trying to get someone to where they’re accepting death,” says Robert Chodo Campbell, a Buddhist priest and co-founder of NYZCCC, “but...

Mind
No One Should Die Alone
Body
Casket or Crematorium?
Body
8 Ways to Be There

“When we hold space for other people,” she says, “we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgment and control.” Plett offers eight tips on...

Community
Tell Him It’s OK to Go
Community
Vivid Reminders

For contemporary reminders of death, we might head to the closest cinema or tune into the latest episode of American Horror Story, but in Medieval times there was...

Community
5 Ways Hospice Care is Changing Lives
Body
20-Somethings Think About Death, Too

Given her willingness to talk about any topic, it’s perhaps no surprise that writer and TV star Lena Dunham experiences more flashes of what she calls “mortality awareness” than...

Mind
Stories from the Front Line
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When Death Is Not Separate

https://player.vimeo.com/video/111374641

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Preparing for a good end of life

Thinking about death is frightening, but engaging in practical planning ahead leaves more room for peace of mind in our final days. In a solemn, thoughtful talk, Judy...

Body
Death Can Show Us Many Things

And Maps And Plans

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