Category: Education:How To

We are all going to die. And someone will have to handle what we leave behind. Odds are good that person will be someone who loved us, someone who will be grieving. Let’s not make it harder for them than it has to be. Let’s make some key decisions now in order to be kinder to those we’ll leave behind. What kind of decisions? Welcome to Dying Kindness, the podcast for people who are going to die someday. Host Cianna Stewart is learning about death and dying, and sharing information and tips along the way. Episodes include practical information, philosophical musings, interviews, and a dose of morbid humor. Because we’re all going die someday and we should learn how to talk about it.

June 21, 2022

24: What’s in an Obituary? A conversation with Michael Osborne, Famous & Gravy

What's the point of obituaries? Why are some people so into reading them? Should you draft your own obituary as a Dying Kindness?

Today we talk with Michael Osborne from the podcast Famous & Gravy, a podcast about what really matters in life, and what's gravy... one dead celebrity at a time.



Famous & Gravy

Generation Anthropocene

New York Times Obituaries

Obituary for Shirley Temple Black

Famous & Gravy episode on Shirley Temple Black

June 7, 2022

23: Joint Account vs Power of Attorney for Finances - which is better?

For most of us, there will come a point when we'll need to have someone else help manage our finances. Two common approaches are to set up a joint bank account, or use a Power of Attorney for Finances. Which is better? How do you decide which to use?

May 23, 2022

22: How much does a funeral cost?

A funeral can get expensive. In this episode, I break down the elements of a traditional burial funeral in the United Stages, and the median costs.

April 19, 2022

21: ”Asking for Help” vs ”Being a Burden”

After a lifetime of independence, it can be tough to age or get ill and start to need help. So many of us fear becoming a burden so we resist asking for help. But at what point will our independence become a problem? What's the difference between asking for help and being a burden?

April 5, 2022

20: What Goes Into A Living Will?

A discussion of the kinds of things that you could (and should) include in your living will, including examples that Cianna wrote into her own. 

Topics: Living Will, Advance Directive



NOLO Press

Book: The Art of Dying Well

Book: A Beginner’s Guide to the End

Dying Kindness Bookshop 

The Death Deck

The Conversation Project

Estate lawyer: Kathleen Hunt

Book: Death Poems

March 22, 2022

19: Which Forms? When? Living Will, DNR, POLST, Advance Directive

Living Will. DNR. Advance Directive. POLST. 

You know these forms are important. But are they the same? Do you need all of them? What are they for? And when would you need them?


Forms are location specific. Do an online search for "[where you live] and [name of form]" or ask your lawyer to get the right version for you.


Recap of summary: 

  • Everyone over the age of 18 should specify their wishes and designate a health care proxy, ideally with an Advance Directive or Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney
  • If you’re close to the end of life or frail and the risk of complications from resuscitation would not be worth it, that’s when you want a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order
  • If you’re close to the end of life and don’t want to artificially extend your life and you want to be sure that your wishes are honored (and it’s available in your area), get a Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
March 1, 2022

18: Choosing Who Will Defend Your Wishes

Selecting the right Health Care Agent is a critical factor in ensuring that we get the kind of care we want when we're critically injured or nearing the end of our lives. Your agent will be responsible for implementing your Advance Healthcare Directive, and (even more) for understanding why you made the decisions you made so they can respond to unanticipated situations. How do you choose the right person? What, exactly, would you be asking them to do?


Review of studies on racial bias in pain perception in NCBI:

February 23, 2022

17: On Wanting To Do What We Love As Long As Possible

Thinking about dying has me thinking about aging. And as I took my aging body on a hike, I decided maybe it's time to get used to using hiking poles—and this had me thinking about what we can do now so that we can keep what we love doing for longer.

February 15, 2022

16:Your Final Resting Place

Do you want to be buried near your parents? Want your children to scatter your ashes at your favorite beach? Would your family visit your memorial tree in a forest?

What kinds of things do you need to take into consideration when you're choosing your final resting place?


Bonus in this episode: An interview with Mike Szymanski, creator of the #DoxieTombstone in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

February 1, 2022

15: Final Disposition of Your Body

Burial or Cremation? That question is important, yes, and it's not the only thing that needs to be decided about what will happen with your body after you die. This episode covers some of the practical decisions that need to be made regarding final disposition.