BetterDeaths offers a wide range of services...

Guiding Advanced Directives

Having an advanced directive can determine the course of your medical care, should you not be able to give consent or direction yourself. Maybe you want a "do not resuscitate" clause or want to know more about VSED or organ donation. Working together, we can document your choices so your loved ones and care providers have a plan to follow that will support your wishes.

Funeral and Burial Planning

The funeral business can be intimidating and oddly impersonal. Our goal is to help you navigate this industry and to locate services and providers that feel right. This might include helping you learn about environmentally friendly "green" burial options, creating a plan for a home funeral, or investigating how to conduct a burial at sea.

End of Life Planning

What is a good death? How do you want to live the last months, weeks, days, or hours of life? Who do you want around you, what do you want your physical space to be like, and what do you want to touch, smell, or hear? Is there anyone you want to forgive or be forgiven by? How do you want to be remembered? Do you want to craft an Ethical Will? We can work together to make the end of life be as vibrant and productive as possible, and work toward your vision of a good death.

Creating Memorial Projects

Leaving a legacy not only memorializes our lives, but also helps our loved ones remember us well and often, while easing the pain of grief. A memorial project can be as simple as writing postcards or letters to our loved ones, or as involved as creating a video, archive, or quilt. It invites us to reflect upon life and to share and record personal stories as well as advice to others. It can also be a beautifully collaborative effort of remembrance after someone has died.

Bedside Vigil

Even when we are no longer able to respond to others, we are still alive until the very moment we die. Part of having a better death is not being alone for our last breaths. By holding vigil at the bedside of the dying, we honor their last hours of life, providing comfort and reassurance simply by being present and keeping them company. During this time, we also work to uphold the end of life wishes of the dying person, and provide respite care to support their loved ones.

After Death Rituals

Between the moments of death and burial is a window of time for loved ones to be with their beloved deceased. This may involve performing rituals such as lighting candles, saying prayers or singing songs. It also might involve washing or anointing the body, or having a home funeral. These sacred and intimate moments offer time to express our love and gratitude for the lives of our departed loved ones and time to process grief with the support of community.

Services Liaison

In addition to the emotional labor of coping with loss, there can be a lot of work to be done after a loved one dies. It can be immensely relieving to have help coordinating with a funeral home or crematory, writing an obituary, notifying extended social networks of someone's passing, or sorting through the personal belongings of someone who has died. Our hope is to help ease the burden of these basic, yet time-sensitive tasks.

Processing Early Grief

Death changes our lives and forces us to adjust to a new reality, and grief is a natural, meaningful process. Being able to discuss thoughts and feelings around losing a loved one can help ease the stress and pain of grief. Our intention is to support the mourning process and the ways it may open our hearts and minds as we heal and continue living.

Resources, Referrals and Support

Even if you choose not to work with us directly, we're happy to provide you with information that might be helpful to you. This can happen in the form of a quick phone call, some brief email correspondence, or simply making use of resources provided in this website. The most important thing is for you to feel more empowered and informed about death and dying.