Leading Edge Seminars
These days, helping professionals are talking about what used to be off-limits: sexuality, the effects of oppression, racism, sexism, gender fluidity and, now, death. Grief and loss are increasingly part of the conversation. In this workshop, award-winning author, palliative care nurse and dharma teacher Sallie Tisdale will explore loss and death.
We live in a culture uncomfortable with death, with little shared vocabulary for how we talk about it. How can we prepare for death when it is difficult to talk about dying? Even professionals familiar with the clinical experience of death can be unprepared. We may think we are ready for our own inevitable deaths, but we have secret fears and questions we never ask out loud. Resistance is part of our relationship to death.
In this workshop, participants will consider their personal experience with death and with dying people, the questions and fears we carry about death, the meaning of a “good death” and how we grieve. Health care, hospice and funeral industry professionals will have opportunities to review deaths they’ve experienced. Caregivers will have a chance to consider the complex ways we inhabit more than one role at the bedside of a dying person.
How do we get ready to die? We start with not being ready. We start by admitting that we are all future corpses pretending we don’t know. Using lecture, discussion, humour, and exercises for both small and large groups, Sallie Tisdale will help you think about a few things no one really wants to think about. This is a blunt and useful workshop for professionals who care for the dying, as well as for the rest of us, as we prepare for our own deaths and the deaths of people close to us.
In this workshop, you will —
• Examine common fears about death and consider the meaning of a “good death”
• Learn how to communicate with dying and grieving people
• Discuss what to expect at the bedside in the last months, weeks and days of life
• Reflect on controversial questions, including organ donation and assisted death
• Discuss how to make plans for yourself and others
• Consider options for the disposal of the body
• Learn methods for facing and integrating grief
Sallie Tisdale is the author of nine books and winner of numerous literary awards. She works as a palliative care nurse and is a certified End-of-Life Nursing Education Curriculum trainer. As a writer, she has shown an incredible range of topics, sharing insights about everything from gender, sexuality and violence, to the work of firefighters. Themes of mortality, desire, love and loss are paramount in her worldview. Her essays have appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker and Tricycle, among other journals. Her recent book, Advice for Future Corpses (and Those Who Love Them), was named one of the New York Times Book Critics’ top books of 2018. She currently works in a community-based palliative care program and is the senior Lay Dharma Teacher at Dharma Rain Zen Center in Oregon, where she has practised for more than thirty years.