Ending Well is in Transition as I Pursue a Degree and Career as a Funeral Director.

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Plan, Prepare, and Experience Your Own Good Death

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Tree Turning Into Birds

Life matters. Talk about death.®

Dying and death can be sad, beautiful, and difficult. While the process itself is  something that can be done by one person, it still takes a community to support. 
Many of us do not have that source of community support. Focusing on community building is one of the most important things you can do for your own good death.

Six Things I Am Doing To Build A Death-Informed Community in Vermont and Beyond

1. Talking About Death and Asking You To Do The Same.
Talk about death, talk about dying, talk about your thoughts and feelings, your hopes and fears, any questions you have when you think about the end of life.Explore how death relates to other transitions in your life - like changing careers - and how these can offer us a chance to practice what we need for dying. You can find me just doing that at most Thursday night meetings of the Montpelier Death Cafe. You can learn more about Death Cafe at deathcafe.com. The Montpelier Death Cafe meets on the second Friday and third Thursday of each month.
To learn more email: montpelierdeathcafe@gmail.com.
2. Planning for Death.
By now most people have heard of advance directive and how they allow you to plan for your own death. In Vermont, The Vermont Ethics Network (VEN) provides an advance directive form and resources that include: medical, personal and social decisions you should consider, including your funeral and disposition wishes. It is often hopeful to work directly with someone to complete an advance directive that is reflective of your values for living well and plans for after you die. Coming into relationship with your own mortality is a necessary step before you can plan for your own death. If you want support for values - based, end of life planning, explore what VEN offers, or email me to help you find someone: michelle@ending-well.com.
3. Promoting Different Models for End of Life Support.
End of Life Doulas now exists to serve as a non-medical complement to hospice care. There are many definitions and training programs for End of Life Doulas. Make sure the person you find is comfortable with the core competencies, defined by the National End of Life Doula Alliance (NEDA) so that you not only find someone that is the best fit for you, but can be confident that they will help support you in the best way for you. Birth and Bereavement Doulas are specially trained to support families through the loss of a pregnancy. The Institute Birth, Breath and Death is an excellent source of Doulas trained to support families experiencing loss at any stage of pregnancy, instant loss for any reason, and the difficulty of saying goodbye before you have had the chance to say hello. 
4. Challenging the Concept of "Good Death."
Many people talk about a good death but, what does that mean? An important question to ask: a good death for whom? The Collective for Radical Death Studies is a collective of scholars, funeral directors, death work practitioners, activists, and students of death studies who view death work as synonymous with anti-racism work, synonymous with actively dismantling oppression and as a way to validate cultural and social life among marginalized groups. We are working to achieve the goals of decolonizing death studies in theory and in practice from a variety of angles. 

I am honored to be a founding member of this group and contributing to it's work to decolonize death practices. I have always believed we have defined our own good death, now I am working to make that accessible for all. 
5. Remembering the Environment.
In a time of climate crisis it is easy to overlook something as simple as our disposition choices can have a positive impact on the environment in the addition to contributing to healthier social and emotional mourning. At Green Burial Vermont we strive to educate Vermont individuals, communites, and cemeteries about socially and environmentally responsible burial practices. If you're considering cremation, or the mushroom suit be sure to visit our website or email: greenburialvermont@gmail.com and schedule by-donation for your community and learn how you can play a role in making green burial an accessible option in your community and for all Vermonters. 

6. Writing.
At my blog, You're Own Good Death, I reflect on working with death, share some of my experiences, talk about my journey to become a funeral director, review books I have read, and what I am learning about how I want to live and die. I don't write as often as I'd like so please subscribe so you never miss a post. 

Thank You For Visiting Ending Well

The more I embrace working with death and the dying, the more I learn what truly matters in live and understand my own values for living well. It is a powerful, uplifting and transformative experience. As I pursue my goal of becoming a licensed funeral director here in Vermont, I can't help what an honor it is to be a service to my community in this way.

Remember: Life Matters. Talk About Death.®


Contact me to learn more. 

Service Area
Montpelier & Central Vermont

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Copyright 2019 Michelle Acciavatti