I am listening to a new podcast.
It’s called Ologies.
Presented by American writer, Allie Ward, it discusses the world of Ologies. Yes, like Beatie (BT) of 1980’s telephone adverts, ‘He got an ology!’ (How times and tastes have changed.)
In the current episode, Thanatology, Allie interviews death expert, Cole Imperi.
I am not sure whether her qualifications would stand-up to UK scrutiny, she does however know what she is talking about.
Cole runs a company that supports those who are dying, the bereaved, working with undertakers and those affected by death. She is a death doula plus.
Please don’t be put-off by Allie’s asides, you will grow to appreciate them.
The section that interested me the most was when Cole and Allie talk about talking about dying. The way to engage people in conversations relating to death.
It is something I do every day.
You might say it is an area of my expertise.
Let’s face it, talking about ‘death’ isn’t light. It isn’t banter. It’s about as heavy as it gets.
And this is the problem and where I have seen it done wrong and where Cole has it right.
She suggests talking about death as the way you would approach a deer in the forest.
If you barge-in, you will scare it away.
If you take your time, perhaps taking a circuitous, roundabout route, phasing with the environment, and slowly, slowly changing your position, you might not spook animal.
And so too with death.
‘Do you want to be resuscitated in the event of your cardiopulmonary arrest?’
Is how some doctors start the conversation.
Or even, ‘If you die, would you like us to treat you?’
There are an infinite number of possibilities.
For the most, the best way is to talk to the person, establish rapport before going straight for death.
And yet, as you know with many of the people you have encountered in life in general, some just can’t stop themselves from blunderbussing.
Their noisy footsteps, loud conversation and boorishness loosen a wave of unrest that unsettles even the most stoical.
Go slow, take you time.
A tangential approach is best.
One, tailored to the person and the circumstance.
What works for me won’t work for you.
If you have had one conversation about death, you have had one conversation about death.
Even I, an expert gets it wrong.
Death and dying.