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Midwifing Death

A husband diagnosed with a fatal illness chooses to voluntarily stop eating. His wife is there to usher him out of this life.

Photo of Sami Packard
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This personal TED Talk shares the story of a woman's husband who chooses to end his life by voluntary stopping of eating and drink (VSED). The wife, Phyllis, shares her story of what it was like to be by his side along the way. My understanding is that this approach is part of the death with dignity movement so that those diagnosed with a deadly or life altering illness do not have to stay around during their health's decline. Found this article here about the process:

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

We put so much effort into a funeral once someone passes, but why not allow them to enjoy the gathering of all of their loved ones while they are still alive? Additionally, people often spend their last days in hospice care simply waiting to die. How can we enable people to design their own death experience?


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Photo of Peggy Hartzell

I think we can learn a lot from the Home Birthing movement to inform home dying. I had two babies at home in the 70s and used my wisdom from that process in creating a sacred place at home for my mother to transition with family caring for her. There are a lot of parallels with midwifery and end of life care.

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