“Deathwives” Seek to Widen the Narrative Around Death and Dying
What do you call the partnership between a funeral director and a death doula? Founded in 2019, Deathwives is the collective project of Lauren Carroll and Erin Merelli, who want to create a support community and widen the narrative around death and dying. By offering educational workshops to foster a positive attitude toward death, Deathwives seeks to establish connections between funeral homes, home funeral educators, death doulas, and families. In workshops such as Home Funerals 101 and Deeper Deathwork, participants have the opportunity to explore themes such as the history of death work, what it means to die well, spiritual and emotional reflections, and ritual and grief exercises.
This weak signal indicates how our aging society could become more open and involved in facing death and dying, and how the service sectors could adapt to and encourage this change. This initiative represents a desire to normalize and destigmatize death. An essential part of this process is to foster healthy attitudes toward death as an integral part of life. Such initiatives could open additional dialogues concerning inheritance, estates, and intergenerational transmission.
In a more secular society, people do not necessarily know about the options available to them, such as home funerals. Collectives such as Deathwives could therefore help end this isolation.
A person would be able to gain a sense of responsibility and inner peace in the face of his or her own death by working with others to make death an experience and not just a legal process. Grief counselling could also be available through this service. Similar to midwives during childbirth, death doulas could become more prominent in society for providing support for the dying and their loved ones.
- R.S. Jefferson, “Deathwives, Death Cafes and Death Doulas. Learning to Live by Talking about Death,” Forbes, August 21, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/robinseatonjefferson/2019/08/21/deathwives-death-cafes-and-death-doulas-learning-to-live-by-talking-about-death/.
- “Deathwives: a collective,” page consulted on September 5, 2019, https://www.deathwives.org/.