Please take a seat in the waiting room, someone will be right with you.

Your Future Self

Caren Martineau
May 19 · 2 min read

It only takes one bad death story to realize why death literacy matters for every single person alive, regardless of age.

My mom died tragically, unexpectedly, at the age of 48. I was 22. After her funeral and shiva, nothing was said and no instructions were given. If there was grieving to be done, it was to be done privately.

Fast forward three decades. My 87 year old father was dying. Miraculously, during his final year, he was lucid. Haunted by the disturbing incompleteness of my mother’s life and death, I was determined to extract whatever secrets, regrets and expressions of love he held. I wanted to find closure. Closure as in an idyllic, ‘Disney death’ closure. But that kind of storybook ending was written into my script, not his. My father was from the silent generation.

I am a baby boomer. According to those people who measure things, boomers are the first generation to witness what living longer and dying slower actually looks like. In light of this, the benefit of introducing oneself to the idea of impermanence can be enormously therapeutic. Longevity is an opportunity as well as a cautionary tale, for it raises the likelihood of living out our final years managing a protracted disease condition.

Quality vs. quantity.

Death literacy is something I acquired over time, slowly. It started by listening and asking questions. All I knew was that my future self did not want suffering to surround my death. Emotional and/or physical.

When I launched bevival, many friends {yes, many} thought I was sending them a subtle message about my pending demise. While that was not the case then or even now, I had done enough research to become absolutely certain of one thing — death would make either an unwelcome or an unscheduled visit to every person I knew, including myself.

Literacy of any kind is an empowering tool, and for sure, death literacy has enhanced my life in such positive ways. People have reported when they moved past the fear of the dreaded ‘death conversation’, they actually experienced tremendous relief.

So when you think about it, talking about mortality and what should happen at the end of one’s life is actually a stress reducing activity that everyone you care about can share in.

You have everything you need to talk about death, differently. There is no right way, or just one way, to start having the much avoided death conversation. Yes, it may be awkward because it is. But the only way to deal with reality is to get comfortable with reality. Try starting here, or here, or here. So when the time comes (and it will), your future self and your family, will be grateful that you brought up the conversation, long before the end.

Ready, set, go….


Creating end of life narratives, long before the end

Caren Martineau

Written by founder is on a mission to help change our relationship with mortality, long before the end. #DoDeathDifferently #DeathLiteracy #EndOfLife



Creating end of life narratives, long before the end

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