Disruptions With Purpose

On Death and Dying With Karry Sawatsky

March 28, 2021 Karry Sawatsky Season 1 Episode 2
Disruptions With Purpose
On Death and Dying With Karry Sawatsky
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we speak with Death Doula, Karry Sawatsky of Modern Death Care who has dedicated her career to supporting people through their dying time. It’s a conversation about reclaiming death and dying, being with grief, the role death can play in us achieving things we previously thought unattainable.  We explore how we can use our grief to be leaders in our community and by having the willingness to give something of ourselves away, we can tap into such a profound and deep part of ourselves. It’s also a practical conversation about having the courage to speak to the people we care about the most about their death so we are as prepared as we can be to have to deal with all the nitty-gritty details that can make dealing with the death of a loved one so challenging. This is a fresh and honest conversation about the only thing we can be 100% sure will happen at the end of our lives and hopefully, give you a little inspiration and courage to take one step closer to walking a life rich with more meaning and more purpose.

If this episode inspired you in some way, take a screenshot of you listening on your device and post it to your Instagram Stories, and tag me @amidehne.

I want to invite you to help contribute to this podcast by submitting a question for the Disruptions With Purpose podcast.  All you have to do is go here and submit a question or episode suggestion that could be featured on an upcoming episode.

LINKS:

Community Death Care is an emerging non-profit group, coming together in response to the needs and interests of Canadians who seek to re-engage with dying and deathcare in more meaningful, holistic, and environmentally sustainable ways!

National Home Funeral Alliance is dedicated to increasing access to information related to community-led after-death care. 

Guest Info

Karry Sawatsky is a death doula and the founder of Modern Death Care located in Elora, Ontario.  Karry offers personal support for individuals and families. She offers guidance in planning as well as support leading up to death, at death and after.

Karry came to deathcare through experiencing the deaths of a few close people. She was left with an intuitive sense that there must be another way to do dying, death and bereavement than the current cultural model.

This led her to become a Death Doula and founded Modern Deathcare. She is committed to educating the public about the end-of-life options and alternatives that are available and connecting people with resources. She is dedicated to reclaiming community-centred deathcare whereby families are empowered to enact their own end-of-life care if they choose. 

Karry believes in encouraging cultural re-engagement in dying, death and bereavement and that death planning leads to a meaningful and transformational experience.


Ami: Hi, Karry. Thanks so much for joining me today.


Karry: Yeah, happily so. We tell me a little bit about what does your what does living a life guided by your purpose look like to you?


Karry: For me, it looks like spending my time exactly how I want to spend it, so living a life of purpose and meaning means I wake up and I organize day the way I want to organize it. I have meaning threaded throughout my whole day. I follow the rhythms of when I want to work, when I have spurts of energy. And that can be that could mean working like a 16 hour day at my laptop and having phone calls and seeing clients. Or it could mean having a Monday to just have some self care, go for walks, do some sports, and then maybe Monday night I'll get back into work. So it's it's about following my rhythms and having a very lifestyle focused life.


Ami: Hmm.


Ami: Yeah. Yeah. That's so relatable for me. It's like I really hear what you're saying, like having freedom is super important.


Ami: And would you agree that that is something that is important for you, like living a life of freedom and kind of being on your own schedule?


Karry: Absolutely. That's like the pinnacle. The main pillar of why I do what I do is having freedom and meaning are are one in the same.


Ami: Hmm. Yeah. So how does your rule of of a as a death doula and the work that you're doing help align closer to that for you.


Karry: Well, for me, it's about spending time with people, helping them when they're at some of maybe their lowest points in their life. So for me, when my parents separated, when I was in my teens there, I was experiencing a lot of suffering, a lot of anxiousness, depression, which wasn't diagnosed until years later. And through that experience, looking back, I really just wanted to be seen and acknowledged in the experience that I was having, and that was hugely missing for me. And so when I started to support other people, friends and family, with either through their dying or through their loved ones dying, that's when I could really see the connection with helping to reduce people's suffering through really seeing and acknowledging them. And that's really, for me, the purpose and the meaning that I get behind the work that I'm doing is helping people to to feel seen and acknowledge through the process. And the way to do that is through empowering people to help them plan and offer the options that are available.


Karry: So for me, it's so much about.


Karry: Connecting and being with people in these very difficult times, some of the most difficult times in their life and supporting them through that.


Ami: Hmm, I love what you're saying around being seen and heard in our most difficult times. And and it sounds like a relationship with grief, like being with our grief as our grief is coming.


Ami: You know, I find like so much of what we're taught about in school and when we're so young as having really big feelings of sadness or anger are not appropriate. And and and sad as grieving is something that we kind of we can go into. We can have it for a little bit of time. It's OK to grieve for a bit, but then it's like, OK, time to get out of it and move on. We need to get through it. It doesn't seem that there's a big threshold for for us to fully be. And in what we're experiencing and like, how does do you find that that is something that you are helping people with? Is is actually being OK to grieve how they need to grieve? How do you really help facilitate that?


Karry: Yes, so part of it is for me is really tuning into my own grief, and that's looking back on experiences and having a recent death of a close friend where I really was with what was showing up, everything from the feeling like I had hand weights put in my chest and the muscles under my arms down the side of my back were constantly engaged, even when I'd be laying down and the types of foods that my body feels like it needs. So the more that I'm tuning into what my experiences and what my needs are as life goes on, that helps to inform how it is I'm with clients, how I can be compassionate and offer space and offer guidance through my experience and through witnessing other people's experiences. And part of that is in coaching and so coaching people that are that have life limiting illnesses that are have an expected death or coaching their caregivers. And what that looks like is having conversations around what's happening. What are your fears around this? What if if you could have everything go the way you want it, what does that look like? What sort of robock blocks are in the way? What's their understanding of the illness or the prognosis? And if I had to sum it up, what I would say or the visual that really relates for a lot of people, it's like being a tour guide in a new city.


Karry: So instead of walking through the city where you don't know the language, you don't know which sites to see or where to go, you're trying to navigate to the destination and you're feeling really lost, probably a bit panicked and would really love someone to support you in getting to your destination. And that's my role. I help people to essentially speak the language, to navigate the health care system, to really help them arrive at their destination, making that they see all these places along the way and stop and make meaning as much as possible. Have these very direct and open conversations where I'm very comfortable using the words death and dying and to have open and honest conversations around what's showing up for them, what are their fears, is there anything they'd like to complete before? And also presenting the options available because we don't have all the options made available through the government or through funeral homes. So this way, I'm presenting all the different things that you can do through someone's dying time and after and helping people to navigate those resources.


Ami: What you're talking about there really makes me think about like what you're up to. And what you're really doing is you're shifting culture. your role in in what you were doing is really important because you're shifting something like what is it that you're shifting in our culture that needs to have a death deal in place to help guide us through that. Like you spoke to a few things like navigating the medical system, using the words death and dying, going on there, that that is something that you have to be really cognizant and conscientious of actually speaking to.


Karry: Yeah, a big part of my mission and my legacy is around reclaiming death and dying families, reclaiming death and dying individuals, reclaiming death and dying. And that looks like family life. Death care means being with your family when a person's dying. So whether that means having them die in the home, if that's their wish or if they want to be in hospice or even if they die in hospital, what those options look like. You can bring a person home once they've died. You can offer ritual in hospital. There's so many different ways that you can support people in your community. You can support your loved ones. And especially having the specific knowledge I do around end of life, planning the options available. That's really where I, I try to focus. My coaching is around allowing people to understand what they can do so that they can plan ahead of time. And then once they've planned and have these conversations, they can really spend the person's dying time with them. So instead of trying to file paperwork and go to the banks and to the accountants and lawyers, they can really see and acknowledge both the person that's dying, but also have their own experience as a loved one who is about to no longer have their loved one physically present on this earth to really be seen in that experience. So part of this movement and legacy is around reclaiming, reclaiming death care and not outsourcing exclusively to funeral homes for our death care needs and not exclusively looking at death as. A medical event, it's just as natural as birth.


Ami: Hmm, yeah, totally.


Ami: You know, someone that I've been following a lot recently is Steven Jenkinson. And for those that don't know who that is, he's a he's a master storyteller. And he's worked extensively with dying people and their families. And he's the author of numerous books. And he talks about the way we live within we live in a culture of death phobia and we do everything possible to push death away and basically live like we're going to be the one that beats it. You know, we're going to get out of this place alive. And he's really present to saying, yeah, you know what? Spoiler alert, we're actually not getting out of this alive. And one of the things that he suggests is that we start holding our death closer to us like we hold death closer to our hearts, because when we can get present to the fact that, yes, we are all going to die, it helps us really live closer to our purpose and it helps us hold our close our purpose closer to ourselves and allows for us to be present and not take our days and our whole experience of being human for granted. And and I feel like that's something that is that your like in hearing what you're saying like that that is what you're up to. You are really willing to shift our consciousness around our death phobic culture and be really present to our death. And the fact that grieving is a natural product of that and helping to remove the things that are getting in the way for us to actually be with our grief.


Ami: Because it's like for me, I know for myself, I'm so afraid. I fear the grief. I'm afraid of the grief. I'm afraid of death because I'm so afraid of having to be with the grief and the thing that I'm I'm becoming willing to have to be with is that actually grief is a part of living as a human. And when I can get present to the fact that I will grieve and that there is something on the other side of the grief for me, which is peace and balance and joy and happiness, that is all a cyclical part of our of our human existence and not necessarily something to be afraid of that I could, like, start living bigger in this world, you know, like I think about for myself, like bringing my purpose to the world and something that I really want to live into and standing and taking big risks. And and all of that is, is that when I think about myself laying on my deathbed and I look back and I'm like, oh my gosh, I was afraid because I was afraid of what people thought about me. Like, that's what I'm I'm living here. I'm about to die. And I'm afraid that people are going to think bad things about me, like it would really have me actually living into more does knowing that I'm going to die like every single moment of the day, looking at the end of my day and be like, yeah, today could be the last day that I'm going to be here, so.


Ami: Yeah, I mean, those are just like my thoughts about that, I don't care what you think.


Karry: Yeah, and I that's part of my every day is there's some contemplation of my death or of the deaths of my friends and family. And having that in my awareness really shifts the way that I show up in the world. I there's no guarantee that I'm going to live until old age. And I think that's a big part of our death phobic culture is around really examining what are my beliefs around death. Do I believe that I'm going to live between 80 and eighty five years old? And how is that informing my life? Am I waiting until retirement to do the things that I love? Am I waiting until my kid turns 18 before I take that course or go on that trip or whatever the thing is? And if we really started to get that, we don't know how long we're going to be on this earth. It really can shift the way that you show up in the world. Maybe you would pick up something today or tomorrow that you otherwise planned on waiting.


Karry: And it also helps for me to shift the way that I am in my relationships with people, so instead of.


Karry: You know, sweeping something under the rug. I'm much more apt to pick up the phone and have that difficult conversation because I don't know how long I'll be here. They'll be here.


Ami: And it's our humanity is fragile, and it's like the unwillingness to leave something incomplete because knowing when you hold your death closer to you, that you know, it needs to be complete yet before we before we leave here.


Karry: Yeah. And it really helps to have that continuing bond with the person who has died. So if you've said everything you want to say, if you've closed those chapters and ticks, tick those boxes, so to speak, if you're really living in the present with those people as much as you can, then there's less to look back on and there's fewer opportunities to want to have a redo. I mean, that talk to people all the time and their future fears are that their loved ones will die and that they'll be that they'll suffer or that they won't have repaired that relationship. And if we can really hold that, we don't know when anyone's going to die, then there's a lot of opportunities to live now.


Ami: Hmm. Yeah. Yeah, totally.


Ami: So what would you say has been a year in your role of supporting people as they are moving through this world and moving into another realm, what is that that being with their dying brought to you?


Karry: Well, it goes back to our earlier conversation around. Being with the fragility of my humanity and other people's humanity and being with clients really helps for me to let go of the insignificant things in my life that, like you were mentioning the being worried about what people think. I have this right now. I'm working on doing some social media posts. And I thought, I'm going to put myself out there for the next seven days. And if I don't die by the end of it, because that's the big fear is like I'm going to it, something's going to happen, people are really going to see me. And then what are they really going to think when they see me instead of, you know, hiding out and not putting myself out into the world for those limiting beliefs that that, you know, are in my way of being out there more and sharing sharing my gifts with the world than it really can free things up. The more that I'm that I get that I could die at any time, even though I look after my body and my health and my mind, really anything could happen any time.


Ami: Hmm. Yeah. So I'm curious how you became a death doula, like what was your journey into this profession and even more? I'm very curious, actually.


Ami: Like, what did you have to give up? Like what mindset shift did you have to go through to to actually be standing where you are today as one of the leading death studies in Canada? Like how did you move through that? Like what was your journey to that?


Karry: Well, I really had to set aside that I don't know or that I'm not ready or they don't know enough. Those are some of the biggest things that other death do is bring to me. And I can absolutely see them in my experience on this path. Is is.


Karry: Feeling like I don't know enough or that I don't have enough experience or that I have to, you know, do I don't even know.


I don't I don't know what the measurements were. But just once I put those things aside and stepped into I am the leader in modern day care. I am here to make this a legacy and help people to have more meaningful deaths and to spend more time with their loved ones at their time of death and to incorporate meaning and ritual and.


Karry: Really having the time with them and so setting aside.


Karry: Setting aside those beliefs allowed me to just step into that, stepping into declaring that I'm here, I'm going to figure this out and I'll help and to to really bravely and quite confidently step into the role and. Part of that also is on my way to going to see a client as I'm driving, I take some time to just be really present. Take some deep breaths and just just allow the thoughts to just pass through and not cling to anything. And then I ask the universe to please allow me to be a conduit for whatever is needed for this person. And so in opening up when I'm with clients, I really have a practice of catching what stories and filters come up or assessing or judging or what I would do. And that practice of just keep setting that aside, setting that aside, has allowed me to show up really quite open with them to hear what it is that they're saying and really listen for what's in the background. And then through that, I have these intuitive hits of what to offer or where to guide them or to bring something out of the shadows that they've only maybe just briefly mentioned in a sentence, but really glossed over with a lot of other story about something else. And going back to that point and bringing that to the front and then also offering them some coaching around homework or assignments between our next visit. So allowing myself to really be open, stepping in constantly in this role and really trusting that I know enough I have enough information. I absolutely have the heart and the passion to help people and trusting that that is enough.


Ami: Hmm. Yeah.


Ami: You know, I think about the death that I've experienced in my life, and I, I when I was six years old, my very close best friend was passed away in a car accident.


Ami: And you know what? You you spoke about like really fully like being with with that person. I just know as a six year old how much I would have valued so much having somebody there for me to acknowledge my sadness, to acknowledge my grief, to actually just hear and witness what I was going through because I felt like I was pushed through it so fast, almost denying my my, you know, denying me the opportunity to have my feelings. And there's almost this like stay positive. At least he had a really good life, or at least you're still alive. And I found that to be like I was like, I'm still holding it. Like there's still part of me that holds that. And I feel like what you're speaking to, it also brings in this this conversation around like a like a like a spiritual belief, like something bigger than yourself, like you're bringing in the soul energy that you're bringing in, like this energetic piece that is not just built in the logic. It sounds like so much of our medical system and how we move through death is built on logic. And you're bringing in this piece of of of our bodies that we almost have forgotten about that really exists with our death and the peace of almost like why we live in a death phobic culture is like we don't acknowledge that we're like we're grieving emotional beings that has to move through a process.


Ami: And yeah.


Ami: So it's just it's fascinating to hear you speak about that and to relate that to my own experience.


Karry: Yeah. And so many of us, myself included, get stuck in our grief. And and what I'm really getting in this recent experience with my close friend that died is that being in grief is also an opportunity to be a leader in our community. So by by showing this is what my personal grief experience is like, can help inform others in how they can show up. So really speaking to what it is that I need. So for me, recently I really needed phone calls in the evening more than in the daytime. And in the early part of the grief, I really was having a hard time eating and definitely did not have the energy to cook. And so speaking that to my community to say if you have the time and energy and desire, could you please bring some soups or snacks or warm meals? For me, this is a very difficult time and that would be really supportive. If you're looking for a way to contribute or to please pick up the phone and call. And by doing that, it also helps give people an opportunity to show up so many people that love you want to step in and they don't know how. And lots of us. Get afraid and don't want to reach out or they think they're going to say the wrong thing, and through my experience and my experience with clients, it's they would rather have people reach out and maybe say the wrong thing with their best intentions. But to just keep reaching out. Don't go away. Be there. And the main thing is bear witness. There's nothing you need to fix or do but just bear witness to the person's grief. Really? You're saying I see you, I see your suffering and it's OK and take as long as you need. I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. I'm right here, and that's the container that. US as a community can offer each other is to bear witness.


Ami: Now I have I have heebie jeebies goosebumps everywhere. I'm curious for you, like, how has the rule of of your spiritual belief played into all of this?


Karry: Yeah, that's a good question, that my spiritual beliefs keep evolving and.


Karry: And with clients, I try to show up quite openly and neutral to what their beliefs are and what their experiences are, not informing my beliefs on them. For me personally, I believe in a higher power and I believe in universe source a greater a greater something beyond us, whatever that might be. And so I tap into that quite often. I speak to the universe. I ask my spirit guides for help and guidance, as I was mentioning around driving to see a client. I asked to be a conduit for whatever is needed for them, and I really trust that.


Karry: That was supposed to come through me and come through them. Well, now there's nothing to fix, it's it's about being opening and being a listening and.


Karry: Yeah, I really trusting in that that I'm I'm being guided and they're being guided.


Ami: Mm hmm. And I'd like to explore a little bit this topic about what the role that you're in, in the work that you do is really about giving so much of yourself away, like you're really in service to to being with others.


Karry: And and how does that for you allow you to have a deeper connection to your own purpose, like when you're giving of yourself and you're tapping into something that's bigger than you and you're willing to be witness in your being there and you're and you're hearing and you're offering yourself, how does that get you in deeper connection to what you're here to do?


Ami: Well, the first thing that comes to mind is I heard a quote that the secret to living is giving. So through my generosity, with my time and my knowledge, my resources. That I derive a lot of meaning and joy and purpose in my life and peace and contentment, so through my generosity in being of service to others. That drives so much meaning in my life that I'm so grateful that I've followed this path to.


Karry: Do something that.


Karry: Is really worth living for, is worth is worth the and the struggles of entrepreneurship to to be in service to others and and the joy that I really get out of that.


Ami: Mm hmm.


Ami: And what was the other you mentioned other piece, too, about that.


Karry: Well, I I was just asking around, like what how does giving yourself away gets you in closer alignment with your purpose? And I feel like you you you answered that like you you are in greater alignment of your purpose just by being in the very nature of giving yourself away, like being in service. I love that quote that you spoke to.


Karry: Yeah. Yeah. There was something else that just came up around. We can't take clients further than we ourselves have gone, and I heard that quote recently as well, and that really lands with me to keep exploring what? My beliefs are what stories come up for me, what I'm holding on to and not letting go of what my values and principles are and the more that I dig into. My own beliefs and my own stories, that really helps to inform how I shop with clients and the deeper I go, I feel that it's I'm really being shown that I can take my clients further to my.


Ami: Hmm, tell me more about what you mean by taking your clients further, is that through their emotions, through their grief, like what does taking their client's emotion or what does taking your clients further mean to you?


Karry: It means instead of having conversations and showing up and saying, you know, what's the understanding of your illness and is there anything you need and how much of the modern day care end of life planning have you filled out?


Karry: Are there any questions you have in staying at this sort of two dimensional surface level which not to downplay the importance of those things, but going further in in having the. Going further and having their fears and beliefs come to the surface and talking about what's really. What really matters to them, what's really important, what is it that they aren't saying, having conversations to draw out? Fears or beliefs that they have so that we can go deeper. So, for example, if they're having these fears about taking a certain medication and they're afraid that that means that they're going to become addicted to it or they're afraid that they're going to get to a certain place in their prognoses or in their in their journey where they. They are having, like fits of rage and to really help to break that down. OK, so you're concerned about. About having fits of rage, not being really hard for your family to witness and then talking about. Did you know that? Or not, did you know about helping to dispel those myths and saying if the quote unquote fits of rage or the the. Delirious and sort of delirium shows up that we can work with your health care providers to find out if a medication is helping to inform that experience and if it is and a medication could be changed or it could be a different dosage might be required or there could be another medication that could help with that, or it could be working in a breathing practice or offering support to your loved ones. So really helping to to understand what is what their fears are behind. Their experience, so if they're constantly in this anxious state, having these conversations to help tease out what is it that's making you anxious, and then once we start to tease apart that thing that they just keep playing over and over again in their mind, they can see it from a new perspective. And then that shift in perspective shifts their experience.


Ami: Hmm, like, I really see your role in it is like you you're really committed to ensuring that people don't feel alone in their death, but not even just in their own death, but in the family members after their death.


Karry: They're not left alone in all of this to have to figure out how to do it both logically, like how do we get the medical treatment or the ritual service that we're looking for, which is something I'd love to talk about, this thing that you're talking about around ritual, but also just like the emotional support to to actually be there, to guide them, like you're guiding them to talk to you about ritual. Like what? What is that? What are you noticing around? There's something like for me that is so just that the idea of going to a funeral is very formulaic. You do it a certain way. It doesn't hurt for me. I don't find as much meaning in it and the meaning that I would really love to experience in a funeral. What are you up to on shifting ritual for people?


Ami: Hmm. There's so many opportunities for ritual and I think of people can what what is ritual?


Ami: Can you tell me what is really what's the difference between a funeral and ritual?


Karry: Well, they can be combined together, but a ritual is something that helps to move through an experience that honors something in particular. There's a particular intent and to honor the experience through some sort of visceral action. So, for example, well, first, I'll go back to often people think that ritual, it's like they delete the word ritual. They think, oh, that some woo woo thing. And that doesn't fit into my religious beliefs or my spiritual practices and really rituals. An example of ritual is having a baby shower. That's not taboo. That's pretty mainstream ritual or having a wedding. That's a ritual. So some ideas of ritual. For example, if a person has died, you can. And if a person has died and there it was unexpected. And they're now at the funeral home and a client calls me and says, I don't know what to do. How do we incorporate ritual? This is all happened so fast. An example could be inviting the close family members to write a love note to the person.


Karry: It could be acknowledging memories. It could be expressing their grief. It could be the shock or disbelief they're currently experiencing, what they're going to miss about them, whatever, showing up for them, they can write in a note folded up and they can tuck it in with the body and then the body can be cremated or buried with these notes with them. Or it could be this is something I did with a client just recently, and that is to have an object that you infuse or imbue your your loving energy into. Or it can be if you want to specifically imbue healing energy or calm thoughts or a sense of safety, whatever it is you want to put into the object, you take some time to sit quietly and then you really think about taking your energy and pushing that into the stone or into the little piece of paper or a little dried flower.


Karry: It can be absolutely anything that you want to put your energy into and then you can mail that to the person or have it delivered, or you yourself can drop it off. And if you can't be there with them, it's a way to continue even from a distance to put that energy into something that can stay with the person.


Karry: Like energy being grief or sadness or thoughts or anything like that, anything, anything you want to send to the person, you can do that as a as a visualization practice, but not as this like, you know, two dimensional. I'm just going to sit here and visualize and this is supposed to be good for my grieving.


Karry: It's it really is. It's a real thing. You're really putting your energy into this. And the other person can often when they hold that object or be with it, it has a shift in their experience.


Ami: Hmm. Oh, I love what you're saying, because sorry to cut you off there, but I love what you're saying about like that. Like, basically what you're saying right now is that we're energetic beings. Absolutely. Like, we are energetic beings and we've almost forgotten that. And I guess it's like I am so curious around what you're talking about, around like this ritual, which I'm like what I'm getting from is that it is all about creating an ingathering with purpose.


Karry: With meaning. Yeah. Whatever that meaning means for us, so that we can move through the process of grief and release it and move it and let it come to us in a way that aligns with our beliefs, our ritual, our our religious beliefs or whatever our beliefs are. They have value that is a valuable experience and not just a formulaic thing that we do, because that's how we've always done it. And that's what I love about my job, too. As like you're willing to take what we've currently done, disrupted it, turn it on its head and said, actually, what if it could be different? What if it could actually be different, where we can have an experience of death that yes. Is sad and yes is tragic, but could also be meaningful and purposeful and something that we're not holding at such an arm's length because we're so afraid of it.


Karry: Yeah, we there's so many ideas. Even at someone's deathbed, they've died, whether that's in hospital or in hospice or at home, you can do all kinds of things. You can have someone take photos with their their phone or you can have a professional photographer come in and take photos of hands holding or a family around the bed. There's a casting kit so you can buy like a molding kit and hold each other's hands and put them in the bucket and have that form molded and have a plaster. Like a plaster image of your hands holding, or you can do fingerprints of the person or light a candle. There's so many different ways that we can incorporate ritual and this can be nearing death right at death or after or even the time much later following a person's death. There's so many options and opportunities for ritual. And I love what you're saying about it's not even with ritual. It's not like, OK, and now we shall write notes in a letter and now we shall overcome. It's really what fits for the person who's dying. It's fits for the caregivers and even individual people. So maybe a daughter might really want to write notes and have a fire ceremony really just to fire and putting these love notes in the fire. Or maybe the dad feels really uncomfortable with that idea. But for him, he wants to light a candle and have the person's picture next to it in the dining room. So it's really whatever resonates with you that helps you to continue to have that bond with the person who is dying or has died.


Karry: And that's unique to your your expression, hmm, yeah, that's so great.


Ami: And so so the book that you've written is your book is is it a reflection of, like, the How to Die?


Ami: Well, tell me a little bit about your book.


Karry: Yeah. So the book is called The Modern Death Care End of Life Planning Guide. And it's an end of life planner that's fill in the blank. So it starts with the essential section at the beginning detailing all the information that you'll need at the time of someone's death. And then there's also a second section that teases out. There's a second section that teases out questions around what your concerns are nearing death. You're what options you'd like to have at death. And after that, there's also a section for leaving a legacy. So some of your favorite recipes, family memories, childhood memories. Favorite foods or films, helps you to understand what the options are around family led care and green burials talks about acclimation. So essentially it's a fill in the blank planner. And also.


Karry: It's an information guide that gives you all the information you need and your options in Canada.


Ami: me, I really love that book.


Ami: I find that I have given one to both of my parents. I've given one to my grandmother, and we're filling it out together so that when they do pass away because they are going to pass away. And I constantly have to remind myself that, yes, my parents are going to pass away and I'm going to pass away and so are my children and so am I, my husband. And but that that I'm able to almost have a guide to, like, walk me through it. So it's not just like it's like it's a ritual for me. It's a ritual for me to bring the death closer, that I can hold it closer and just remind myself that it's going to happen. And when it does happen, here's some some great ways of of making this transition easier for me, like both emotionally but also logically, like where is their wills kept? What are their what are their passwords to things as super helpful that way. And for me, I filled my note and I actually gave it to my lawyer. I said, can you put this with my will?


Ami: So therefore they have it and it's in it's in a stepped away.


Ami: So it's like, you know, it's going to be easy for my family when I when I do eventually die.






Karry: We all are going to die, every single one of us, and that we have a choice to have these conversations now and to start to plan and make some notes, do your will pick a power of attorney? Or we can understand that if we don't have these conversations and do the planning, that at the end of life it's going to look like running around, seeing accountants and lawyers and bankers and trying to pull paperwork together and trying to get your loved one to speak when they might not be able to speak or have the energy or or know the answers and have clear thought. So in understanding what that picture looks like, I'm not saying that everyone must do it. What I'm saying is really understand what this looks like, an end of life and then make a choice and then stand in that choice. I'm choosing to not do this work now because this is really uncomfortable. And I understand that the impact of that is that I'm going to have to do this right before, during and after. This person is really important to me, has died. And if I'm willing to accept that, then all the power to you. And if you are if you see that picture and you go, I really want to spend time with them, I understand I might not have the mental capacity to make these enormous decisions, financial decisions, have these conversations and not know if the choices that I'm making are going to support them. Then do the planning now and whatever you choose. It's all about understanding what this the big picture is.


Karry: Hmm.


Ami: Karry, I just wanted to thank you so much for sharing with us, with me today what you're committed to around changing how we are being with our own death, with the death, with death in our culture, with how we're showing up around death and how we're holding it and your willingness to explore it in such a deep and compassionate way. And then what I see is about to change, and it has a potential and the capacity in it will change how we start living our lives when we can start holding death differently and we start reframing how it looks. And so I thank you so much for your commitment to that work.


Karry: Thank you very much. And thanks for having me on.