Finding meaning in death

The latest episode of Tapestry (a CBC radio program on spirituality, religion, meaning …) has an interview with the creator of wecroak, an app whose sole purpose is to remind us that we are going to die. He’s actually really thoughtful and engaging! There a couple of other great interviews. Definitely worth a listen!

I’m back!

After an intense month and a bit of non-stop writing and research, I’ve completed my work on the report on death, dying, and families in Canada. The report will be launched on May 7th, just in time for Hospice Palliative Care week!!! I’ll promote it here as soon as it becomes available!

While I’ve been otherwise occupied, lots of people have signed up to follow this blog. I’m excited to welcome you all – I hope you’ve been accessing the archives and reading the many articles I’ve posted. Feel free to introduce yourself via posting a comment. I love hearing about people’s work, passions, and preoccupations!

Over the coming weeks, I’m hoping to publish reviews of some of the new books I’ve been reading during the past few months. I’ve been part of a Facebook group called A Year of Reading Dangerously started by Dr. Karen Wylie (the physician who interviewed me for End of Life University). Each month we read a book related to death and dying. I’ve organized a local discussion group in Ottawa and it’s been great to get together with other people to talk about the books. I’ve wanted to have a “reading group” for a long time, so hopefully the group can continue (and possibly grow).

Meanwhile, I’m here, wondering when Spring will actually arrive (we’re expecting snow and freezing rain here this weekend!) and feeling grateful for the wonderful friends and colleagues I’ve made through my hospice volunteering.

More to come soon!


I have never read anything that so beautifully and eloquently captures my own views on palliative and end of life care. Brilliant and thought provoking! Please read.


I’m madly working on a major revision of my 2013 report on Death, Dying, and Canadian Families (Vanier Institute of the Family). I’m working to a very tight deadline – hence my silence on this site. But I might include bits of my writing here as I’m working to see what readers think! I’m excited to have the opportunity to think, research, and write about all the changes that have occurred in dying in Canada in the past 5 years.

Meanwhile, feel free to read the many many postings on this site and to bust in with any comments you may have about your own experiences of hospice volunteering!

An interview about hospice that I did last March has finally been aired! It’s on a podcast called Death by Design. Check out my interview (I sound a little like I’m in a tin can, but honestly, I’m not!) and the others on Kimberly Paul’s series. I’m in great company!



Late last year I did an interview with Dr. Karen Wyatt, a hospice physician, speaker, author, and founder of End of Life University – a series of interviews with key figures in what has been called a movement to reclaim death and dying. The interview was great fun, as we shared our common passion for end of life care. I felt like I was having a conversation with a close friend (though we have never met!), so connected are we to improving end of life care in our two countries, and throughout the world.

Have a listen, and let me know what you think! Please feel free to share with your colleagues, friends, and fellow hospice volunteers.


In Denial about Death


When I was doing research for my book “I don’t have time for this!” I created a number of google alerts on death and dying, palliative care, medical aid in dying, and elderly parents. I’ve kept those alerts active and, as a result, I receive a daily digest of all the relevant Canadian media items on these topics. I realize this probably makes me seem even weirder than I probably already did, but it’s given me access to articles and news stories I would not otherwise have seen.

The link above is one such story – a fulsome and thoughtful article about the impact our culture’s fear and denial of death is having on the institutions (hospitals, long term care homes etc.) and families in society – and the crisis it will create in the not-too-distant future. I urge you to read it – and to consider the impact that those of us who are involved in hospice care are having in breaking the silence around death and dying.

On another note, I’d like to welcome all the new followers to this blog, many of whom hail from countries where the fear of death is not so prominent. I would love to hear from followers new and not so new, about your own experiences of death and dying. Feel free to comment here – if  you have something more lengthy that you might wish to contribute, please send it my way so that I can consider including it on this blog.

If you’ve just happened upon this blog for the first time, please consider following it – there should be a button near the bottom right corner where you can click. I promise I will not be flooding your inbox. Also, feel free to scroll through the archive of postings and respond to topics from the past.


Te Arai Research Group

Palliative Care & End of Life Research - New Zealand

Hospice is Not a Dirty Word

-A Hospice Nurse Speaks


where volunteer managers talk


Ellen Symons. Nature reports, mostly.

Last Comforts

Notes from the Forefront of Late-Life Care


Offbeat stories and essays about what people facing loss ponder, value, and believe.

Your Own Good Death

life matters- talk about death

Jane Eaton Hamilton

"I write not because I am courageous but because I am afraid. I discover my courage in the writing, and am no longer silenced by fear." -Kerry Beth Neville

Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa Latest News, Breaking Headlines & Sports


Reflections from my life as a mother, grandmother, midwife, farmer, buddhist, teacher, vagabond and hospice nurse...

The fragile and the wild

Ethics, ecology and other enticements for a stalled writer

Rampant with Memory

completed moments stamped

Heart Poems

How poetry can speak to you

Linda Vanderlee • Living Aligned

Personal, Leadership & Team Development

Writingalife's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog


Just another WordPress.com site

Hospice Volunteering

A blog about volunteering in hospice care


The Blog of the European Association for Palliative Care