Departure Directions

Sadly, death can tear families apart because people who love each other don’t know how to talk about their inevitable death.

Maybe you’ve experienced the overwhelm and frustration of arranging a good-bye ritual for someone who didn’t leave any directions. You’ve struggled with trying to honour what you think are their wishes and meet the needs of those left behind, including you.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Departure Directions is for you if:

  • You’re nervous about what will happen to you if you don’t articulate your wishes for how you’re cared for after you die.
  • You’re eager to learn how to green your death.
  • You’re curious about different cultural and community traditions around death and dying.
  • You draw a blank when you try to imagine meaningful good-bye rituals and ceremonies.
  • You wonder about the value of any type of ritual at all, especially given the trend to “no service by request.”
  • You don’t know how to choose between the options that are available to you.
  • You want to wake up from your mythical “trance” that you will live forever.
  • You want to talk openly and compassionately about what your inevitable death and dying mean to you.
  • You want to feel more at peace with death, and more comfortable around death and dying.

Death is the one certainty in life, yet we live our lives doing our best not to talk about it.

Work with WILLOW to produce your own workshop

Departure Directions is a thoughtful, informative and inspiring workshop curriculum that nurtures our passion for life and respects our heartaches around death. Our materials can be adapted to meet the needs of various participants, time frames and learning objectives.

We can dip in or dive in deep depending on your desired format: two-three hour, stand-alone sessions, day-long or weekend workshops, or a series of workshops. The more time we invest exploring our relationship with death and discovering the scope of our options for how we are cared for after we die, the better prepared we are to plan ahead for ourselves or make arrangements for someone we care about when the time comes.

Spark your imagination

  • Identify your core values and explore your relationship with death.
  • Discover the factors that influence your decision making for how you’ll be cared for before and after you die, including ecological + social impact.
  • Identify good-bye rituals and ceremonies that align with your values and your sense of what your loved ones will need.
  • Begin to craft your personal set of Departure Directions to outline how you wish you’ll be laid to rest and remembered.

Pair sharing, group discussion, journaling and more will be used to facilitate your learning. Our sessions are interactive and engaging.

We guarantee that your time with us will nurture your passion for life and enhance your awareness about what matters most to you. You’ll discover what you didn’t know you didn’t know about expressing your essence now and at the very end of your life, whenever that might be.

If you’re ready in your heart to take charge of your life by taking charge of your death, contact us to register for a current workshop or to explore organizing a Departure Directions workshop in your community, workplace or home. Sign up for our newsletter so you’ll be in the know about our next offerings.



“It was profoundly moving to share openly with others around this sacred and rarely discussed topic. I learned tons about traditions and trends associated with end-of-life, and became better informed on green burial options. Surprisingly, I now have tangible departure directions, something I did not expect to actually be able to write in the third workshop. I feel more grounded, better informed and prepared for my inevitable death, and keen to focus on enjoying being alive today.” Audrey Ple, Marketing Consultant

“I found the workshop to be hugely informative, thought provoking and inspiring. To be with like-minded people who had so much to offer with their own insights and emotions was reassuring. The subject of death is not a popular topic in North-American culture and it felt good to be in such a safe and uplifting environment.  Yes – uplifting – as facing our death can enrich our life.” Maryke Messchaert, Retired Office Administrator and Business Owner

“I wasn’t sure Departure Directions was for me, as I’m not big on sharing. I attended because my friend was going. I enjoyed the sessions, learned something about myself, and thought about things I hadn’t had time to think about before. No one made me talk if I didn’t want to and it was a very comfortable experience. I’d go again.”  Carol Dixon, Director of Mission & Volunteer Resources,Providence Health Care

“Michelle and Reena have compiled a lot of solid information and they generously share a good chunk of it in the Departure Directions series. I came away from these sessions significantly more informed and inspired to put some things in place related to my own mortality. I recommend these sessions without hesitation!” Amy Phillips, Project Manager/Master Integral Coach™

“Departure Directions gave me a safe place to talk with others and ask questions about dying and death. It also empowered me to take control of how I want my body taken care of and what kind of rituals I would like after I die. Everyone should take this workshop! Single, Married, Widowed, Male, Female, Young and Old. We don’t know what the next hour brings.”Nikki Warkentin, Dementia Care Manager

“Departure Directions … gave me an appreciation for life, making me more aware of living in the present and cultivating gratitude for the profound beauty of the world around me. I now have less fear of death and was able to over come a years-long block about writing my will.”Anita Roberts, Educator + Founder, Safeteen International

“I had projected a certain image of what would happen after I die, and this circle opened up a whole landslide of new possibilities. I am actually getting excited about doing all of this stuff. That was pretty incredible.”Jerry Namgyle Ewan, Professional Speaker and Facilitator

“I was confused, in denial and had a lot of anxiety about death. In the Departure Directions circle, Reena and Michelle brought out the best of what I am now and what I would like to be after I die. They dealt not only with our hearts but also the health of the planet. Helena Cynamon, Producer


Michelle + Reena

With extensive training in deathcare—Michelle as a funeral director and hospice volunteer and Reena as a facilitator and all aspects of community deathcaring—we share a passion for using the conversation around death as a pathway to growth and healing for individuals, communities and the planet.

Our support integrates your emotions and your intellect, honours your body and your spirit, and is always mindful that your choices have economic and environmental implications.

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