Tuesday, October 26, 2021

say hello to our tiny death stories

 


We are introducing a new offering at The Death Dialogues Project.

One night I was awakened with the thought, we need to post tiny death stories on our account. 

Flash fiction and other tiny writing has been around for years. Having written it myself, I knew that it was an exercise of one having to really sit with the story and whittle it to its core, something I believe can have therapeutic value. We have heard from our storytellers and our tiny story writers how helpful the process is.

But the reader? Think of all the mindless scrolling that can occur on social media. Many people in the throes of end of life, death and grief are also mindlessly scrolling if they have the time and space. What I've heard repeatedly is that they just want to hear that others have survived similar terrain. 

Enter: the tiny story. Very fast, moving, poignant reads. 

You can find the ones we've already published on our Instagram and Facebook accounts. There is a steady stream of submissions flowing in.

If you'd like to submit or know someone who would, here is what we need:

No more than 100 words of your true and personal story. .

A photo to accompany your story.

How you'd like your name. You are welcome to be anonymous.

Send these to tinydeathstory@gmail.com.

All things good,

Becky 


Friday, October 15, 2021

Staying Connected




I am endeavoring to send out a newsletter with each podcast episode release. 

If you'd like to be able to stay in that loop, please sign up HERE where you will also see links to the recent newsletter.

We have another one coming out very soon that that will speak to a new spoke in the wheel of this project.

Thank you for your ongoing support!
Becky


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

death can do this to you.



What a long strange trip it's been. The state of affairs in the world around us has definitely had us swirling in that psychedlic vortex.

My hope is that you've been able to find places of quiet and comforting respite during what could certainly be called a tumultuous previous year. 

The vicarious trauma of witnessing death and destruction in the world at large has taken a toll on many of us. That hasn't put "the hard" of our own lives on hold either.

Throughout the past few years that I've been doing The Death Dialogues Project, there is the recurring question of how do you do this? How does one move forward in life without remaining mired in the deeper emotions that comes with death?

Previously, my go-to was that I had learned strong boundaries while working in the mental health field over the past almost 40 years. Early in that trajectory it was clear that the work would not be sustainable if every story I heard lived within my heart. Through training and supervision and self-permission, I developed ways to leave those stories at the office. 

A unique aspect of this work is that it blossomed out of my personal stories. Even though the founding raw grief of my brother and mother in 2017 can, at times, still rear, part of my coping strategy has been this project and knowing how positive they would feel that their lives and deaths created an offering that is helping others; that's what both of those humans were about.

Sparing you the list, but with more of "the hard" knocking on our family's door and deep, deep heart-breaking emotions, I have finally reached a point where living in this world of death has become a challenge. With that, awareness has been the primary tool for coping, followed by making some gentle space and time for long cleansing exhales.

Circling back to the question, who does this work? I'm linking this podcast episode where I was interviewed by Karen Wyatt, MD of End of Life University. I've been interviewed several times for other podcasts (you can find the links at https://linktr.ee/deathdialoguesproject), but wow, did I enjoy this conversation. Karen and I had a deep connection regarding how we came to our current work and I loved my time with her. 

Sending love and care to you all. Please make your primary work be to take exquisite care of yourself. We've reached the part of the flight where you need to put your oxygen mask on. Please remember to put yours on before taking care of those around you. 

All things good,
Becky


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Re-entry: things to be aware of as the world opens back up

a  new dawn
Even though the pandemic is raging out of control in some areas of the world, with the vaccination rollouts we are seeing a fair amount of regions loosening restrictions.




Wednesday, April 14, 2021

how story heals: try this one



I'm starting to say this frequently, but when Miriam contacted me about being on the podcast, my gut felt a deep since of resonance as I read her story. As if our connection was meant to be.

There's something about when someone else's love and loss and grief stems from similar relationships that greet my heart in a way that feels like a huge exhale and a yes, this person speaks my language; they know the terrain I come from.

This story of a brother and mother, the sole members of her family, dying within a year, and how Miriam's deep sense of loss and grief were able to be put into creativity and connection is a story everyone can benefit from hearing: the full spectrum of it all. The possiblity of being fully open to the depths of how grief will have its way with us and also gently being opened in a powerfully transformative way and growing something from that loss.

I say that listening to these stories will make you a better human and I 100% stand behind that. We come from a lengthy time of programming to limit our exposure death which, in turn, leaves us inept to have the capacity to sit with people during and in the aftermath of death. And ourselves. 

Engage with these stories. Hit pause when and if you need to. And know that by listening to this intimate exposure into people's deepest stories you are teaching yourself how to be fully present for yourself and others; your avoidance impulse will gradually dissolve. That is a gift that keeps on giving. 

A reminder: I have psychological training and a long career in clinical counselling and therapy. Listening to these stories is, in fact, a form of exposure therapy. And the primary therapy for a fear, as most have for death, is exposure. These stories can heal.

Thanks for being here and thank you for listening. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Calling Bullshit on "Grief"


Grief,” I fear, has become a buzz-word.


Monday, March 15, 2021

My Old Friend Death

   


This was a recently published episode from our podcast. I love this episode so much. Brooke has been a die hard (no pun intended) fan of the project and it's just a beautiful affirmation to hear how this grassroots little movement may have been instrumental in someone's expansion. Another thing important about this episode is her unique perspective of the grief experience as young child. 

Brooke Hartman is a wife, mom, and friend. Death became an "old friend" early on in life with the loss of her grandfather- which acted as a catalyst to grief not associated with death. In her journey through multiple deaths of close friends and loved ones, Brooke learned that she had a desire to become more educated in regards to death and death practices She has become a nursing student at her local community college, where it's her goal to become an RN to work in hospice care to help educate and advocate for others regarding death. You can connect with Brooke on IG @bhartman7785.

Since this project is a one person band, I am constantly playing with ways of how to make the work involved as balanced and efficient as possible to best manage my time. It's a work in progress for sure.

One thing I did in 2020 that I found relatively successful in the endeavor was rather than record epsiodes on a near weekly basis I "batch recorded" so I'd be able to have some time off over the summer. That was effective in giving me more time for the writing projects I am doing and balancing family and life in general. 

In fact, it was successful enough that I am on my way to implementing that plan again. Many people had contacted the project asking to be included as a guest and, of course, I jotted down folks I was interested in having on an episode. So, in a great difference from the first two years of recording, I contacted those I wanted to invite in the first round and within a few days my schedule was filled for the years worth of recording. That sees me recording every Monday (US Sunday) until mid June. 

Since the project has moved to every two week episode releases, the momentum of the project is much more manageable and I can release extra episodes on the alternate weeks if something pertinent comes up. That flexibility is welcome as is the decrease in the pressure of publishing weekly.

Our podcast has recently been picked up by Luminary which is a newer and comprehensive place to listen to podcasts. You can see our  lists of where you can listen on the main webpage of the project.

Thanks for staying with this on this journey. We have some exciting things unfolding. As always it's a beautiful thing to watch the wave of death literacy projects continue to rise and the interest and conversations surrounding death becoming more and more normalized. 

As always: thanks for being here. 

Oh, and it is so very helpful if you share our project and podcast with anyone you think might need it. We've been a grassroots, word of mouth piece of work. And along those lines, if you take a moment to review the podcast when/if you listen, that is greatly helpful as well.

All things good!
Becky