Thanks Morgan! It's been a while since I've read Tuesdays with Morrie so I will definitely look that up again. I also like your phrase "emotionally compartmentalize dealing with death." Please, if you get the chance, email me a copy of your paper - I'd love to read it.
I love your idea for a toolkit - this way, if the idea is not able to create an actual physical space, it can definitely provide specific direction for those wanting to plan an event such as this. A checklist of sorts that would help the participants create a personalized, comfortable, and happy event. I think a big part of making sure the process is smooth and enriching would be to involve an end-of-life coach that may be able to mediate the experience by providing such a checklist for family members to plan the event or by being present for the planning and the event. I'm hoping to get feedback on this from a few contacts soon. Thanks again!
Madeline, Thanks for your feedback. What I envision for a reception hall in the hospital is not huge but as aesthetically pleasing as possible - warm with artwork and windows and dining or sitting options. The hospital could cater if they chose. There would be medical technology accessible but not very visible. I think this could go a long way in not only increasing overall patient satisfaction for hospitals whose primary consumers are towards the end of life, but it would also improve the overall perception of hospitals as places that don't just take the sick but welcome people with malady along with their families. I like the idea of a rehearsal dinner because it would mean having a semblance of the funeral just as a regular rehearsal dinner goes through some of the motions for a wedding. But I've heard retirement party, pre-funeral... what would you want to call yours?