Thursday, April 15, 2010

Death Care Reform in America

I got inspired tonight to think about some ways that we might reform how we deal with death and grief in the United States. Here are some beginning thoughts that I had. I hope that after reading them, you'll respond and let me know additional ideas and suggestions you have.

1. Face our fears about death -- go deeper into our spiritual practice -- and find ways to overcome them.

2. Learn to embrace our experiences with grief. We can see them as opportunities to grow.

3. Develop more gentle acceptance and appreciation of the aging process in our own lives.

4. Start the conversation with our loved ones sooner rather than later, letting intuition and courage be our guide.

5. Find ways to be proactive about death and grief: Have the courage to speak and share emotions around these issues when they come up naturally -- openly, with love and gentleness.

6. Make end-of-life and funeral plans and share them with our loved ones. Visit sites like and the Five Wishes Document, or my website. Explore aging, death, and the afterlife and ponder the unknown future and the mystery of it all. If your parents aren't planning for the inevitable, start planning yourself and share your plans with your parents. Then, they can be gently and naturally guided to explore something that's difficult for them to approach.

7. In whatever creative ways that we can, help hospitals to create a more gentle, loving space for death. This is beginning to happen, thanks to Palliative Care programs in numerous hospitals.

8. Get acquainted with local palliative care and hospice programs in your community; they are the way-showers for us in this area and can teach us a lot. Consider becoming a volunteer at a local hospice.

9. Become more knowledgeable about the death and grief rituals of our cultural and religious heritages. Then, broaden our horizons and become more knowledgeable about the same rituals of other cultures and religions that are different from our own. They may well have something to teach us.

May our creativity and imaginations guide our way! Blessings on our lives... and good deaths, Dancing heart~~~