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.

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.

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 inscrutable and unpredictable things that life delivers up to us, including plenty of change and not an insignificant amount of loss—something Thomas knows a thing or two about.

Nighttime view of Downtown Halifax skyline

How Learning About Death Changed My Life

Tracy Picha, When You Die’s associate producer in 2015 and ’16, has had a few changes in her life since learning, considering, wondering about mortality. Far from a macabre pursuit, it’s rekindled friendships and fine-tuned notions of what a good life means.

In the Aftermath of Tragedy

Death frequently comes without warning. But when tragedy strikes, there is a certain suddenness and violence that can have overwhelming effects on us, our families, and our society.