Reimagining our relationship with death and dying, life and living
Life.Death. Whatever. is an initiative to redesign the dialogue around death and dying, to open it up and to find new approaches to this important subject
Death is a normal part of life. Acknowledging and accepting that one day we will die is key to living a full life. It's as simple and as complicated as that!
Death and dying isn't a gloomy or taboo subject. Talking about death and dying can be life-affirming and life-enhancing.
Death and dying belong to everyone.
It's essential to create links between communities involved in end-of-life care. Opportunities are currently being missed.
There is a way of approaching death and dying that can genuinely engage the public and transform society's relationship with death.
About Life. Death. Whatever.
We’re Anna, an end-of-life doula, and Louise, a progressive funeral director, and together we’re the team behind Life. Death. Whatever. Our joint mission is to redesign the dialogue around death and dying, to open it up and to find new approaches to this important subject. We believe that death is a normal part of life and dying is part of living. Acknowledging and accepting that one day we will die is fundamental to living a full life. It's as simple and as complicated as that.
The people we’ve had the privilege to work alongside have had a profound and transformational effect on our own lives.
Life. Death. Whatever. is many things. It began life as a ground-breaking festival, which ran in partnership with the National Trust; it developed into an international community of eclectic people from many different disciplines (artists, writers, funeral professionals, hospice and hospital workers, counsellors, medical staff and interested members of the public) who are united in a commitment to doing death differently; it’s also an approach that influences our individual work - a forward-thinking, educational, honest, approachable, transparent, bold and brave way of addressing the inevitable. Because death is going to happen to us all, and we believe that how we handle that fact matters enormously.
As an end of life doula, Anna supports people who are dying, their family and friends and sometimes, people experiencing bereavement. Her aim is to help people live as good a life as possible right up until the very end. She believes that a dying person is still living so it’s essential to help them to live a life they can enjoy, for as long as possible.
As a funeral director, Louise has an unconventional approach. She created Poetic Endings, the kind of funeral service she felt needed to exist. Her mission is to get people to really think about the kind of funerals they’re having, and why they have them. She believes that a good funeral can be transformational in helping us to accept and acknowledge that someone has died.
Watch our TEDx talk
In our TEDx talk, we explore how in facing death, we can live a better life. We unwrap the important role that language plays in dealing with pain and acknowledging loss – a vocabulary our society has been missing - and inspired by the many people we've worked with, we examine what it really means to show up right until the very end.
Pre-order the Life. Death. Whatever. book
Life. Death. Whatever. is a new approach to death and dying, showing how exploring our mortality really can change our lives.
Anna and Louise have joined forces to share a collection of the heartbreaking, surprising and uplifting stories of the ordinary and extraordinary lives they encounter every single day. From working with the living, the dying, the dead and the grieving, Anna and Louise share the lessons they've learned about life, death, love and loss.
If we acknowledge and accept our mortality, can we live a better life? If we embrace the end of life in the same way as we embrace the beginning, can we transform our lives? This is a book about life and living, as much as it's a book about death and dying. It's a reflection on the beauties, blessings and tragedies of life, the exquisite agony and ecstasy of being alive, and the fragility of everything we hold dear. It's as simple and as complicated as that.
Life. Death. Whatever. the book will be released by Green Tree (Bloomsbury) on 30th April 2020.