Beyond a Good Death: Let’s Talk About the Uncertainty

It’s so common to hear about birth plans as new parents often discuss this topic with their doctors, family and friends yet death plans are rarely shared. They may even be taboo at the dinner table. However, it’s important to talk about death and our preference in dying with dignity, surrounded by loved ones and cultural traditions, spiritual or religious aspects honoured in end-of-life care, perhaps in the manner of a “good death.”

What does a “good death” mean? Is a good death a culmination of a good life? Death is truly universal, a certainty like taxes yet wholly unique in each experience. There is no way around this, death is tough for all involved, for those who are dying and for those who are left behind. In an interview, Keanu Reeves thoughtfully reflected, “Death is the hardest on those who loved you the most.” Let’s take a moment to process this.

Reeves’ statement is simple yet meaningful, especially in the times that we are living in. How could we support our loved ones (and ourselves) tackle such a tough topic? Let’s start by being open and honest about our wishes for end-of-life care. For resources on advance care planning, wills, medically-assisted death and funeral planning we've curated a list to help support thinking about the other side of life.  

EPL Picks: The Other Side of Life

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For some, reading a book is comforting. Here, at the Library, we offer a welcoming space to discuss death and dying. Bring your curiosity and join us for a virtual Conversation about Death and Dying Book Club on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m.

Death can be a strange and fascinating topic to explore. Check out this tongue in cheek list for memoirs and informative reads, that will make you laugh and ponder about this uncertainty.

EPL Picks: Memento Mori

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Maybe empathizing through fiction is easier, so choose from our list for interesting novels.

EPL Personal Picks: Dealing with illness and death fictions

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Perhaps movies are your go-to comfort, as you relate better to visual narratives. This selection approaches death and dying with a diverse range of styles and attitudes, from profound and reverential to darkly humorous, but all in their own way, treat the topic respectfully and seriously.  

EPL Picks: Knocking on Heaven's Door - Films about Death and Dying

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Visit Compassionate Alberta for additional health resources. Have questions or would like to discover more? Come chat with our knowledgeable staff.  

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