End of Life

Conversations About Death

Attending a Conversations About Death event is definitely not for everyone. If you are interested though, if the time and circumstances are right, it can be incredibly powerful.  Through these straightforward, compassionate, informative and calm interactions we consider on the practical, emotional and transformational level in this inevitable and mysterious part of life. 


Listen and view interview on End-of-Life University

Art and Conversations About Death

(slides show best in Explorer)

Exploring dying has the potential to become the agent of change throughout life and often is. Most people share Conversations About Death because they simply want to turn more responsibly and creatively towards dying - because they are watching a parent face the ending-of-life, or concerned about protecting their own children from such challenges. But information is scarce, and in our culture, the topic fraught, It’s hard for many people to do the considering, alone.  More importantly, we want to be clear about how we can best prepare people and support their values during dying. And so, we have, Conversations About Death.

The first program:

I. Three Conversations About Death:  This set of three 2.5-hour session considers very practical questions and issues about end of life circumstances and experiences. What happens during the dying process and what is often the dying experience/circumstances. We also explore loss experienced and meaning created -- as these profoundly shape most people’s end-of-life wishes. The sessions drive toward some action -- most often the completion of an Advance Directive or the opening of a conversation with another.

The second program:

II.Three Art Projects About Death:  In most cases participants of this program already have attended the first program, “Conversations About Death,” gained a sense of the vocabulary and facts about end-of-life, and are now considering what hopes, concerns and choices will inform their decisions about end-of-life care.  It is not necessary that you have completed your Advance Directive.  In fact, many people attend this workshop to explore more broadly and dig more deeply into what values and goals gird their end-of-life wishes.

Exactly what we’ll cover, or where we will go during these sessions will vary depending on who and where the participants are at that time. Because of my background in learning theory and because contemplating dying takes so much more than the intellect, we come at the topic through several paths. I use readings, art, sound, movement and the urgency of the group to facilitate our explorations. We work as individuals and as a group.  I offer a series of exercises and reflection practices that help you develop a relationship to loss, regret, meaning and legacy. Much of the richness comes from your “noticing” during times we are not in community, as well.

Community: Conversations About Death workshops engage communities, medical teams, families, spiritual homes, and individuals experiencing the profound change surrounding end-of-life.

Personal Reflection: Conversations About Death uses art to explore practical end-of-life decision making in the context of personal values and aspirational legacy

Facilitatated Conversations: We gather and facilitate these important conversations -- among family, friends, advocates; aging parents, adult children and chosen decision makers.

Resource services during dying: The ministry of presence and options for music, chanting, reading, praying, photography, massage -- all with people sensitive to the dying process.

Support for:

  • Consideration of Advance Directive priorities
  • Clarifying questions at medical appointments
  • Facilitating conversations with families and decisionmakers
  • Legacy Projects such as Quilts, Books, Video, “manifestos”