Impromptu End of Life conversation captured on video

It started out as an experiment: there was a new video camera, an excuse to get together with a good friend who ‘does the lighting’ for movies and commercials. He makes everything look beautiful. And why not get in pizza and invite some friends, and get a proper lighting lesson and camera test.

David O'Keefe Mr Lighting

Pizza topping had to take into account various cultures: Hindu, Muslim, Mexican-Catholic, Irish-Catholic, Anglican.

Chowing down, the ‘what’re you up to’s’ led to my continued interest in all things related to end of life. Sparked quite a convo!

And so a purpose was found and a flash video chat created.

The result was too good not to post.

The question I posed: “Why is it so hard to talk about dying.”


Starring: Mike Houlahan , Sudhir and Ruth Handa, Colleen Young, Georgina Camacho Ibarra and Majid Ariannejad

It’s 12 minutes long, broken into 5 parts. Watch each separately, or ‘play all’

Part 1: End of life conversations are not an easy for Mike and his Dad, even tho they consider themselves ‘intelligent and caring men.’ Collen is not afraid of talking about dying and death, and knows her mother’s wishes for a ‘good death.


Part 2: Ruth shares thoughts and insights on why many find it hard to talk about dying, end of life and death. Fellow BestEndings chat-ers identify with what she’s saying.


Sudhir and RuthPart 3: Majid – developer of, shares the impact it’s had on him, as we talk and talk about and through aspects of dying and death, medical interventions, personal decisions. Mike give his thoughts on listening to everyone else’s commennts.

Part 4:Majid shares how he felt learning his father bought a grave, and then forgets what else he was going to say = great blooper.


Part 5: Ruth (rightly) identifies overwhelming emotions as a reason people avoid talking about dying and death. On the other hand, Colleen’s family has no trouble talking about end of life and dying. With her father having end stage Cancer, she shares how their graveyard humor took some healthcare professionals by surprise.

With props to my much esteemed fellow discussers:The Conversation Project, Death Cafes, Death over Dinner. As always, I am indebted to the tweeps and communities dedicated to a dignified end of life, as free of suffering as possible: world-wide #hpm, #DWDchat – information at the insanely helpful Symplur Healthcare Hashtags


Suggested reading: Men talking about their experiences with end of life

End of Life: Grief and Grieving