Learning to face death

Mortals with Ross and Rachel Menzies

Rachel and Ross Menzies - photo by Sarah Wilson

Ross and Rachel might be friends, but Professor Ross Menzies and Dr Rachel Menzies are also father and daughter—both psychologists who have authored their third book together, the fascinating Mortals: How the Fear of Death Shaped Human Society. It examines all the human responses to death across history and examines … Read more

Suspend disbelief and watch ‘Surviving Death’.

Suspend disbelief and watch 'Surviving Death'.

by Sandra Moon Are you an afterlife sceptic or not? Have you ever looked for or had a sign from a deceased loved one? Whenever I see the Ulysses butterfly, I call it “Aunty Janet” and think of my sweet, kind and funny Aunt as this was her favourite butterfly. … Read more

National Advance Care Planning Week, March 22-26.

From an Advance Care Planning Australia video

As the organisers say, it’s “a time to talk about what matters most”. “National Advance Care Planning Week is an annual initiative by Advance Care Planning Australia that encourages all Australians, regardless of their age or health status, to make their future health care preferences known,” they explain on their … Read more

Billy Connolly says the best way to deal with a fear of death is to laugh in its face.

Billy Connolly talks down death using comedy, BBC Scotland

Comedian Billy Connolly says he uses comedy as a way of coping with his fear of illness and death. The Glasgow born comic, who is 78, has Parkinson’s disease and prostate cancer. He discusses his approach in a BBC documentary about comedy, made for BBC Scotland last year. In that, … Read more

Reflecting on the true person.

Margaret Rice asks - What has grief taught Jessica Rowe?

Last week I interviewed Jessica Rowe for Good Grief! She said: “We sometimes have the idea that everything about a funeral has to be reverent and really sombre. But it doesn’t. We have to ask ourselves, ‘What is the best way to farewell this fantastic person?’” Jessica explained that for her best friend, … Read more

What has grief taught Jessica Rowe?

Margaret Rice asks - What has grief taught Jessica Rowe?

What has grief taught you? “I’m like so many people in our culture, so I don’t do grief well. Very few of us do grief well. We don’t talk about it enough, we shy away from it, we’re frightened of it.” “It’s good to remember that grief can cover all … Read more

We love this photo of Kathryn.

Kathryn Breusch at her friend Fran's coffin library

We love this photo of Kathryn Breusch – and not just because of the book she’s holding. Kathryn is a death doula, holistic funeral director with Picaluna Funerals, and funeral celebrant. When she sent this photo to us, we couldn’t help but smile. The photo is taken in her friend … Read more

The flowers at the pedestrian button.

The flowers at the pedestrian lights

We have a floral tribute in my community, firmly attached by rounds and rounds of sticky tape to the pedestrian button at the traffic lights. It started with a public note attached. The flowers are a metre or two down the street from a pole with A4 posters, one advertising … Read more

An art project that touches everything.

An art project that touches everything - work by Tara Naval

Walking through the Lane Cove neighbourhood in Sydney this morning we came upon an art installation by Tara Naval. Called Titles of an Imagination, 2019, it’s a “mixed media- resin, organic materials, glass, bric-a-brac, papercraft” exhibition that sits on a plinth in the public space outside the local library, so … Read more

When ventilation goes too far.

A still from by Brad Racino's video in Deciding When a Life is No Longer Worth Living

Ventilators keeping more than 8000 patients alive, in nursing homes: it doesn’t seem plausible. But it’s true. In the US today approximately 8200 ventilators are being used in nursing homes, triggering a debate about whether these should be turned over to covid-19 patients, in the event of the country’s ventilator … Read more

A Good Death testimonial

Sydney reader Sue Reid has written a testimonial of A Good Death, available through Murdoch Books. This book has been of great use to my family as we reorganised mum (aged 90 years) and dad’s (aged 91 years) affairs over the past year. Their will was over 10 years old … Read more

Hey Julian, a lot has happened since you left

Hey Julian, a lot has happened

Hey Julian, A lot has happened since you left. For a start, your children have grown up beautifully. You’d be so proud of them, all such characters. Dad bellowed at us: “There’ll be no more out of order deaths in this family!” He had talked of leaving to be with … Read more

Sallie Tisdale at the Sydney Writers’ Festival

Sallie Tisdale will be talking at the Writers' Festival

Do you want two tickets to Sallie Tisdale’s talk at the Sydney Writer’s Festival? Just get in touch if you do. I’ll give them to the first who ask for them. (Go by the comment link in Good Grief – I’ll check it often until the day.) The session is … Read more

A Good Death is here

Margaret Rice

Thanks to the wonderful people at Murdoch Books A Good Death: a compassionate and practical guide to prepare for the end of life is now published. To pre-order just follow this link: https://bit.ly/2XeRU9p or this one: https://bit.ly/2X8MNYF What the publishers say: This is a guide to facilitate much needed conversation … Read more

Do you want to live for 1000 years?

Do you want to live for a thousand years?

It’s all about the radio today. Aubrey de Grey is a researcher who believes the first human being who will live for 1000 years has already been born. This morning I was reminded of de Grey when ABC radio interviewer Cassie McCullagh interviewed Professor John Rasko. Tonight, Professor Rasko will … Read more