Departure Directions

What About the Last Responders?

Until just weeks ago, the hard work, dedication and sacrifice of the bereavement industry, or death trade as it’s sometimes called, wasn’t even listed as an essential service. Despite this recent shift in designation, I suspect there’s little or no applause or acknowledgement for the essential workers like the ones named by our provincial government: coroners and workers performing mortuary services, including: funeral homes, crematoriums, cemeteries and workers supporting the appropriate handling, identification, storage, transportation, and certification of human remains.

3 Reasons to Talk About How Your Dead Are Laid to Rest

When someone we care about is dying, family and friends are often kept in the loop via text or email or a community-care app or website. The person dies and if we’re lucky there’s a gathering of sorts to bring people together to honour, remember, mourn and celebrate this person we must now live without.  …
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Back to Basics: Caring for Our Own

If your 90-year-old Aunt Bettina died tomorrow, there’s a pretty predictable pattern for what would happen next and how she’d be taken care of—unless, that is, you understand the scope of choices available to you, including, caring for your own.  There’s a good chance Aunt Bettina witnessed community deathcaring as a young girl, whether she…
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Death+ Sustainability: Opportunities to Heal Our Hearts and Our Planet

If you’re living your life mindful of how your daily activities impact our planet, then you’ll likely be concerned about the ecological impact you make after you die.

Are Cemeteries Dead?
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Are Cemeteries Dead?

I consider cemeteries to be beautiful, fascinating places whose look and feel informs us about current and historical cultures and societies. They also honour people who never made it into the history books and help us to imagine the lives of people from long ago.

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Options, Opportunities and Openings: The Impacts of Greening your Death

Whether you have days or decades to live, options, opportunities and openings are the promise of greening your death, in particular what happens to you after you die.  What is it about greening your death that matters most? Nowadays, we have a tendency to get very technical when considering the environmental impact of, well, just…
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Attending Funerals: What’s in it for You?

I love attending funerals. I recently learned on Facebook that my friend’s father had just died. I had great respect for his dad, was sad for my friend, and was looking forward to going to the funeral. Unfortunately, I missed it. I was so disappointed. Of course I wanted to support my friend in his…
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Taking Care of Death is Taking Care of Life

Creating your Departure Directions, Willow’s term for your written instructions or guidelines—determined by your values, beliefs and priorities—for how you wish to be cared for after you die will illuminate who and what matter to you, now. How does that work you ask? Here’s how. Heart-centred and holistic end-of-life-planning begins with taking time to make…
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Deathcare: Not just another retail transaction
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Deathcare is Not Just a Retail Transaction

When someone dies, there are choices to be made. What do we lose when we approach those deathcare choices like just another retail transaction? Let’s look at two deaths I was involved with recently. Coco’s recent death was sudden and took us by surprise though it shouldn’t have because she was in her elder years….
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