Websites on Death and Dying

The following is a (very incomplete) list of websites on death and dying.

No One Dies Alone puts a human at the bedside of someone who is dying. It is essentially a phone-tree program in which volunteers sign up to be available to stay with a dying patient. For a description, see this Modern Medicine Network article.

Compassion & Choices promotes death with dignity. Known primarily for their campaign to allow aid in dying, this organization also advocates for patient control to avoid unwanted medical treatment in addition to providing guidance and resources for the end of life.

If you haven’t guessed, I’m an evangelist for the idea that no one dies alone. Psychopomps are soul guides, that is, beings who escort dead souls to the afterlife. I like to use the term End Friends, but the idea is the same: No one dies alone. Someone will help you with the transition we call death. Psychopomps: Making a Road for the Spirit to Cross Over is a website devoted to guides to the afterlife, not only explaining the concept but also providing resources.

I first learned of the practice of tonglen in the book Making Friends with Death: A Buddhist Guide to Encountering Mortality by Judith L. Lief, which has a nice chapter on the practice. Tonglen is an energy practice in which bad energies are breathed in and good energies are released out into the world.

In 2009, the National Council for Palliative Care of the National Health Service (of England, Scotland, and Wales) set up the Dying Matters Coalition to promote public awareness of dying, death and bereavement. Their Dying Matters website helps start those conversations.

Speaking of conversations about death, the Death Cafe website promotes gatherings called Death Cafes for discussions about death—with refreshments, of course. The Death Cafe model is of agenda-free discussion, with the topics determined by attendees, which excludes events with themes, menus of topics, and guest speakers. Jon Underwood, the force behind Death Cafes and the parent site Impermanence, pulled together a guide on how to host your own death cafe.

The Final Words Project gathered near-death comments, noting the metaphors and unraveling a few mysteries about the sometime-curious statements of the dying.

Booming across the web is the idea of after-death communication (ADC), when we’re contacted by the dead. The Online Grief Support forum has an area for discussions related to ADCs, visions, and dreams.

The Afterlife Research and Education Institute supports afterlife researchers, developers,  educators, and practitioners in their work. Their site has many resources and includes a discussion forum.

Death, the Life Story is a blog that carries the byline “Tracing a life through stories of death. Sometimes funny, sometimes not.” Well-written, each post thoughtfully explores a personal death, providing lovely details and a hindsight perspective that invites the reader into a conversation of sharing.

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