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.

Stories

Swedish Death Cleaning: What is it and why should you start now?

Spring cleaning has become almost a biological ritual. The winter has gone, the windows are open and we suddenly want to give the house a freshening up. We wash, we dust, we sort. Some things are tossed or re-homed. But what if we cleaned, not with the birth of a new season in mind, but use our own death as motivation instead.

Celebrating Easter After the Death of a Mother

Holidays can be difficult when you are missing and grieving someone. But it seems a bit harder when it’s your mom. Usually it is our mothers who organize family dinners and events, so when she’s gone, how do we approach the holiday without her? The folks at Cake have a website of resources and tools to help with grief and end of life and general “navigating mortality”.

How Memorial Tattoos Help the Bereaved

“Tattooing one’s grief can be an act of resistance to the notion that grief can or should be cured … The act of tattooing suggests that grief is permanent and

Helping Children Cope with Grief

We are living in a sad and confusing time, especially for a child. From COVID to the Ukraine, we are saturated with loss. And even if your child has been spared the horrors of the nightly news, the odds are they will experience, at some point, the death of a pet or grandparent or family member or friend or teacher or…. Grief and loss are part of life, but how do we talk to our children about it?

How You Can Support a Grieving Friend Through the Holidays

There is a good chance that you know someone who is facing the imminent holiday with impending dread. It’s hard to know what to say to a friend who is grieving, and the holidays can be a particularly difficult time to face. There are ways to help (or not!) but the main rule is to follow the lead of the person who is grieving.

An Interview with Francesca Arnoldy

Join Francesca Arnoldy (Contemplative Doula) and Johanna Lunn (When You Die Project) for a robust discussion about Lunn’s new documentary, including Q&A with end-of-life doulas.

Self-care in the Time of COVID-19

With COVID-19 very much a part of our lives, we have collective feelings of being uncomfortable or out of sorts. This feeling can be attributed to a global grief, and the antidote is being tender with ourselves – and others. Stressed out has become the new normal, and, clearly, it’s not healthy.

Green Burial

There’s a lot out there on green burial these days. Here are some of the basics to get you started! Eternal Reefs Bio Urns Tree Urns Not Accepted in Some

Life and Death, Tragedy and Grief in the time of COVID-19

Grief can be an isolating experience, but as the world adapts to life in a pandemic, we are forced to redesign how we grieve as communities in isolation. And when a community is unable to physically come together in tragedy, they find ways to be together, apart.

Movie Therapy

Movie Therapy

Five classic movies for coping with fear and anxiety brought on by the coronavirus. Go ahead and cry, laugh, release. Read the full article here>> Tags grief, Grief Culture, Therapy,

Living in the in-between

Living In the In-Between

In this time of the corona virus and the death of our former life, we may face terrible realities, but we also face amazing possibilities.

Living in the in-between

In the Realm of Death & Dreaming

An Update on the WYD Documentary Project

Who are we? Does consciousness continue after death? The more I looked into dying, the more intriguing it became, and I realized we are just not talking about these things.
— Johanna J. Lunn

When you Die Documentary

The When You Die Documentary

Johanna Lunn is the creator of WhenYouDie.org and the producer/director of the upcoming documentary feature film In the Realm of Death and Dreaming. I sat down with her at the Illuminate Film Festival in Sedona.

All the Things

All the Things

No matter how organized a person, there are still things to be handled after someone dies. Items accumulated in a lifetime have to go somewhere, and family members left behind are given the task of cleaning and clearing out the home of someone they’ve lost.

Fear of dying alone

Fear of Dying Alone

In facing a world pandemic we face our greatest fears: dying alone. Psychologists say that there are two separate concerns. First there is the fear that people we love will

Holiday Grief

When the loss of a loved one is fresh, and our grief is great, we need to know it’s okay. Grief is the cousin of love. And so, one perfectly valid coping mechanism for the holiday season is to say, “Not this year. I need to be with my heart.”

Tips for Holiday Sadness

Everyone has been touched by loss in one way or another. And, of course, the holidays tend to bring out our sadness. Remembering loved ones who have passed, or just not feeling the holiday spirit—these two articles might help!

Dumb Supper

The Dumb Supper: Dining with the Dead

In 1692, in Salem, Massachusetts, nineteen people were executed for practicing the “devil’s work,” or, in other words, being witches. Fourteen were women, five were men. In 2019, at the end of October, also in Salem, Massachusetts, modern day witches celebrate the Festival of the Dead.

Día de los Muertos

The Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is sometimes confused with Halloween. Although both are around the same time of year and do have similarities, they are

Good Ground Great Beyond

Good Ground Great Beyond

Angela Lutzenberger, founder of the Maine non-profit, Good Ground Great Beyond, speaks about her vision for creating alternative, after death care options, including open air cremation, for the people of Maine.

Dead Like Me

Dying to Watch: Binge-worthy Series

Over the years many TV shows have dealt with death. From a family of funeral directors to a man in deep anger in his grief, these series have actually created a conversation about death and dying, sometimes comedic, sometimes touching and sometimes painfully realistic. When You Die team member, Kelley Edwards, picks and shares her favourite binge-worthy series. (Caution, there may be some spoilers ahead.)

Reflections on Dying

When it comes to death and dying, we have many questions. The BBC has a selection of videos called Reflections on Dying that address topics such as what it’s like

Death of a Loved One: The Year of Firsts

This winter, my very close friend lost her mom. She and her siblings were very close to their mother and so the loss of her mother was significant. I knew the feeling of losing a parent. Going through the death of a parent is a difficult process, but I also knew that it wasn’t over.

Life in Death

Janie Brown is the Executive Director of the Callanish Society, a nonprofit organization she co-founded for people who are “irrevocably changed by cancer, and who want to heal, whether it

Public Loss, Private Grief

Prince Harry was only 12 when his mother Diana was killed in a car crash. Young Harry struggled to come to terms with his loss, which was a very public

In the Footsteps of Grief

Jennifer was 41 when she was killed by a motorcycle while crossing the street. She left behind a loving husband and two young boys. Her husband, Tim, in his grief,

Death and Food

From sin eaters to sharing food that is symbolic of the circle of life, eating together after a loss is a communal grief practice throughout time and culture.

Día de Los Muertos As Told By Instagram

They say this time of year is when the veil between the two worlds is thinnest. Mexico’s Día de Los Muertos celebrates this special time by honoring ancestors and lost loved

Twilight: A Fantasy Photo Diary of Death

  Photographer Urszula Kluz-Knopek transformed the paralyzing fear of her parent’s death into a transcendent photography exhibit starring them. Here’s what Urszula had to say about ‘Twilight’. WYD: Where did the

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.

What Happens After Death? What Netflix ‘Afterlife Sci-Fi Dramas’ Got Right

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 the stuff of fiction. While the haunting plotlines are (thankfully) fantasy, their themes echo real clinical research into what happens to consciousness at the moment of death.

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.

Have You Met BJ Miller?

  We don’t want to diminish how much palliative care physician BJ Miller‘s TED Talk, “Not Whether But How,” will move you and get you thinking, but we can’t resist