Making Sense of Life & Death

Death is the one thing in life we’re most certain of, yet most people would do anything to avoid talking or even thinking about it. For most of us, it takes death itself—whether recent or impending—to prompt us to bravely consider the reality of our mortality.

People in their dying days often speak of experiencing enormous growth and transformation. Dying can be a time of truth seeking and risk taking. Many have observed that in the face of death, people tend to focus on what gives (or has given) their life meaning.

Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar around a health crisis or the death of someone you knew. The truth is, you don’t need to wait until someone dies or you’re faced with a life-threatening or life-limiting illness to experience these benefits.

Your mortality is an opportunity in disguise.

Many of us know the benefits of preparing for our one-day, some-day death. But sometimes it’s hard to get started. All this planning-ahead business feels overwhelming and fragmented. Or perhaps some basic planning pieces are in place but it feels like who you are isn’t showing up in your planning documents.

Making sense of life and death before making practical arrangements helps ensure that your end-of-life planning reflects your values and priorities. Whether you have days or decades left to live, we believe that thinking about and preparing for your death will inspire you to live your best life now.

What are your hopes and fears around your inevitable death?

This self-guided program will help you base your planning on your values and priorities and lay the groundwork for you to be as prepared as is possible for the inevitable. Focused around the digital, fillable workbook, the program, pulls together our favourite and most effective self-reflection exercises from the workshops and coaching we’ve done for the past few years. This program offers additional tools including:

  • nine videos with Reena and Michelle walking you through the workbook exercises and accompanying you with examples, stories and additional tips and resources,
  • a community forum, and
  • seven bonus items that provide additional inspiration and clarity.

This 52-page, print or fillable digital workbook pulls together our favourite and most effective self-reflection exercises from the workshops and coaching we’ve done. It will help you base your planning on your values and priorities and lay the groundwork for you to be as prepared as possible for the inevitable. Whether you have days or decades left to live, thinking about and preparing for your someday, one-day death will inspire you to live your best life now.

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There’s a lot of talk these days about the importance of preparing for your someday, one-day inevitable death, while you’re still healthy enough to do that. Whether you’re thinking about your own end-of-life planning or the death of someone in your life, it really helps to talk about it first!

For guidance on how to have successful EOL planning conversations, use this 8-page, fillable tool to set your intention, identify your concerns, create context and explain the importance of your conversation and finally, reflect.

Willow’s Reality of Our Mortality Planning Checklist will help you explore pragmatic end-of-life planning as a heart-centred and holistic practice. The topics on the list move beyond the purely pragmatic to include self-reflection, relationships and the interconnected nature of life and death.

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Meet Ngaio Davis: A Responsive Funeral Director with a Micro Business

Ngaio Davis, a licensed funeral director and embalmer for the last 17 years, considers herself more of a deathcare worker and support giver. As the founder of KORU, a micro-funeral business, she offers funeral-related or death-care services in the Vancouver area of British Columbia, Canada.

Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Mourning the Living

The ache that permeates my body is not that of being an adult orphan. I still have the blessing of holding a warm hand and sharing a smile with each of my folks. My biological parents, both in their 80s, are here on earth and we live in the same city. I see Mom, with Dad, every Wednesday and I also see Dad every weekend. I also talk to him—many times a day—depending on what’s up.

What is an End-of-Life Doula or a Death Doula?

When people ask Valoria Walker what an end-of-life doula is, she finds it easiest to explain it this way: “A doula is a woman supporting other women labouring and giving birth. An end-of-life doula is at the opposite end. I support aging adults who are near or at the end of life.”

Interested in producing a Making Sense of Life & Death event for your community?

Hire us for custom, experiential learning for your workplace, clients, community outreach, conferences or retreat events. If you can imagine it – an hour, a day, a weekend – we can make it work!

Learn more about our areas of personal discovery and planning.

Making Sense of Life & Death
Legacy, Love Letters + Heart Wills
Departure Directions