Departure Directions

We’re all going to die, whether suddenly or with warning. Yet most of us are unprepared.

Many of us will die with regret, fear, or anxiety because of what we didn’t say to people left behind or things we didn’t do. And sadly, death can tear families apart because people who love each other don’t know how to talk about their inevitable death, how they’re feeling about death and dying, or what’s going to happen to them.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Maybe you’ve experienced the overwhelm and frustration of arranging a goodbye 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.

You don’t want this to happen when you die, but you don’t know what you can do about it.

What are Departure Directions?

Departure Directions is WILLOW’S term for written instructions or guidelines—determined by your values, beliefs and priorities—for how you wish to be cared for and remembered after you die.

Get into action and prepare your Departure Directions


In the Departure Directions workshop we explore how we make sense of life and death. Inspired by videos about some of the ways people do death differently, we dive into five core factors that influence our decision making about our after-death care. Through creative exercises, juicy questions, deep dialogue, and music, the curriculum respects our heartaches around death and nurtures our passion for life. The workshop culminates with you beginning to write your own Departure Directions.

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

In a DEPARTURE DIRECTIONS workshop you will:

  • Identify your core values and explore your relationship with death.
  • Discover five core factors, including ecological and social impact, that influence your decision making for how you’ll be cared for before and after you die.
  • Identify goodbye rituals and ceremonies that align with your values and your sense of what your loved ones will need.
  • Begin to craft your Departure Directions to outline how you’ll be cared for after you die.

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 that 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 to take charge of your life by taking charge of your death, register for a current workshop.

Explore organizing a Departure Directions workshop in your community, workplace or home? Contact us now.

Stay informed about upcoming Departure Directions workshops? SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER so you’ll be in the know about our next offerings.

Curious about becoming a WILLOW Facilitator so you can offer Departure Directions programs and tools in your community? READ MORE HERE


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 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 overcome a years-long block about writing my will.

Anita Roberts

Educator + Founder, Safeteen International

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

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


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.