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A Guide to Departing for the Left Behind

By Sarah Schmitt

I am a poor wayfaring stranger,
Traveling through this world of woe.
Yet there's no sickness, toil nor danger
In that bright land to which I go.
"Poor Wayfaring Stranger,"
-traditional

"Just hand me over to a stranger,” he said, embarrassed at the idea of my having to prepare his vulnerable body, both literally and ritually unclean. My poor partner had to endure an information dump — unsolicited — about the home funerary workshop I attended earlier that evening. I had been taking photos the entire time, but something about the intense artistic and technical fidgeting of needing to operate a camera meant that I absorbed every detail offered by the presenter, who is also my best friend. I was anxious to tell someone else what I learned, and so he got an earful about provisional death certificates, shroud sizes, and rigor mortis. He tried to change the subject a few times. He was visibly uncomfortable; death has that power over us.

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Original air date April 14, 2022

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Published May 19, 2022 at 6:40 AM EDT

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Facing Death with the Support of an End of Life Doula

In our culture there are several rituals that help prepare for a birth, but how do we prepare for death? A person known as a death doula can help. Continue reading or listen here

Lauren Hunter-Smith is a Death Doula

Published May 22, 2022

Bluegrass Death Doula

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