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  • Writer's pictureJane Callahan

Want to learn more about death and dying? Follow these people.

What does dying look like? What things will happen to my loved one's body before and after death? What's normal and what's not? What signs suggest that my loved one is moving closer to death?


Education is the foundation of preparing for a "good death." Expectant parents read baby and birthing books instead of going through pregnancy and labor with no knowledge--and when it comes to death, we should do the same. Knowledge allows us to understand what is happening and why, prepare for things that may happen, and is a companion in remembering that dying is a natural process. Death education removes much of the panic and fear that comes with experiencing the unknown and helps us gather what we need to keep the dying person comfortable.


For example, knowing that it is normal for a dying person to stop wanting food as they near death can prevent loved ones from making the mistake of pressuring the dying person to eat. Understanding that a dying person naturally withdraws from socializing and doing the things they love can eliminate the concern that a loved one might have something psychologically wrong. And knowing that the dying person is likely to experience a symptom particular to their disease, like vomiting or ascites, helps loved ones arrange what's needed to reduce suffering.


End-of-life doulas are valuable go-to sources of education in this regard, but it never hurts to learn more on your own. Below are some amazing hospice, palliative, and of end-of-life professionals whose content I love. From booklets to blog posts to videos, you'll learn a lot from:


TikTok - yes, TikTok!


Blog

Barbara Karnes, RN (she also sells useful booklets that I distribute to my clients, as well as YouTube videos)


Podcasts


Instagram



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