Guest Blogger

The Death with Dignity movement appeals to people from all walks of life, and we'd like your help in expanding our community. Are you interested in adding your voice to the Death with Dignity movement? Consider publishing a guest post on our Living with Dying blog.

To have your piece considered for Living with Dying:

  • You must be a Death with Dignity National Center supporter (if you aren't, we'll sign you up).
  • Email us to discuss ideas and topics for your 600-900 word post. Include a brief bio.
  • Once your post is up, invite your friends and family to read it.

Please note that by submitting your guest blog post to us you

  1. grant Death with Dignity National Center (DDNC) permission to use your guest blog post, or any portions of it, on our blog and elsewhere in our communications or to not use it for any reason;
  2. certify that you have all the rights, power, and authority necessary to make the submission;
  3. agree to not hold DDNC responsible or liable for any use of your guest blog post;
  4. agree that any uses by DDNC of your guest blog post are made with no compensation to you;
  5. certify that the language and contents of your guest blog post are not plagiarized from any other source and do not libel or slander any other party and that you assume full responsibility for any damages resulting from any claims to the contrary; and
  6. understand that your email address will be added to our list to receive occasional updates.

We look forward to reading your work.

Bridging the Hospice Gap

Mark Dimor

Mark Dimor founded The BioContinuum Group, Inc. (BCG) with the mission to develop healthcare advertising, marketing, medical education, and strategic planning for clients. Four years ago in response to a personal tragedy he began writing, advocating, and speaking about end-of-life, palliative care, caregiving, and hospice. His goal: find meaning to these events. What he discovered was an unmet need. He's applying his 30+ years of marketing, communications, learning, and strategic expertise to these topics to educate and convince others of its value.

"The important thing is that when you come to understand something, you act on it, no matter how small that act is. Eventually it will take you where you need to go." Sister Helen Prejean

Read more: Bridging the Hospice Gap

Lessons Learned from Being a Caregiver for My Grandma

Irina's grandmother, Grunya

Irina Jordan was born and raised in Russia and moved to the US when she was 22 years old. She's the owner of Artisurn—online marketplace of handcrafted cremation urns, jewelry and keepsakes. Connector. Optimist. Avid reader.

My paternal grandmother, Grunya, had a stroke which paralyzed the left half of her body when she was 59 years old. She spent her entire life living in a village in the far east area of Russia raising her own chickens, milking her own cows, and planting her own fruits and vegetables. After her stroke, she had to leave her rural life behind and move in with us.

We lived in Khabarovsk, a big city by Amur River on the east side of Russia. I was 10 years old. In Russia, it's expected children take care of their aging parents and not place them in any kind of assisted living facilities.

I became my mother's helper: helping feed my grandma, get her around, make her bed, do her laundry and monitor her medications. My grandma lived with us for 5 years until she died at the age of 64.

Read more: Lessons Learned from Being a Caregiver for My Grandma

Join National Healthcare Decisions Day...Because Your Decisions Matter

National Healthcare Decisions Day

Nathan Kottkamp is the founder and chair of National Healthcare Decisions Day.

Please help us make history, again. April 16, 2014, will be the seventh annual National Healthcare Decisions Day. The inaugural event, which was formally recognized by Congress and numerous state and local governments, included participation by 76 of the most prominent national healthcare, religious, and legal associations and organizations. By the second year, we over 700 local and state organizations throughout the country also participated. At every level, the goal of this nationwide initiative is to ensure that all adults with decision-making capacity in America have both the information and the opportunity to communicate and document their future healthcare decisions. The first year's results were impressive—over 750,000 people obtained resources to make their healthcare decisions known—but there remain millions of Americans to go.

Read more: Join National Healthcare Decisions Day...Because Your Decisions Matter

Demystifying Death: A Life Moment

Photo by Alex Dodd

Stacey Tinianov is a caffeine-powered working mama and shiny object follower, runner, suburban environmentalist, cyclist, breast cancer ass-kicker, and empowered patient advocate. Follow her on Twitter, @CoffeeMommy.

Several weeks ago, my almost 13-year old daughter sat in the backseat as I drove her to a sports activity. Frequently, as she nears her teen years, this drive time is spent in silent meditation (aka: ignoring Mom's questions about the day) but occasionally, we sing along together to the radio.

Without exception, my favorite days are the days she peppers me with questions that instigate an open dialogue.

"What do you think happens when you die?" she asked as if she were asking what we were having for dinner.

"What do you think happens?" I asked back immediately. The verbal sidestep is a typical mom move designed to create the opportunity to hear her untainted view as well as give myself time to think about my own answer.

She was patently unmoved by my attempt to deflect.

"I asked you your opinion," she deadpanned and we locked eyes in the rearview mirror.

"Well," I stammered thoughtfully, "I don't exactly know."

Read more: Demystifying Death: A Life Moment

Russian Funerals: Black Bread and Vodka

Funeral for Mikhail Kalashnikov

Irina Jordan was born and raised in Russia and moved to the US when she was 22 years old. She's the owner of Artisurn—online marketplace of handcrafted cremation urns, jewelry and keepsakes. Connector. Optimist. Avid reader.

If you caught some of the funeral coverage of the famous Russian weapons designer Mikhail Kalashnikov, you may have wondered how funerals in Russia might be different from those in your country. There are quite a few similarities but also some unique differences thanks to Russia's rich historical heritage and culture interlaced with superstitions.

During the time of the Soviet Union (1917-1991), state funerals of the most senior political and military leaders were staged as massive events with millions of mourners all over the USSR. The ceremonies held after the deaths of Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and other General Secretaries followed the same process. They took place in Moscow where they began with a public viewing of the deceased in the House of the Unions and ended with an interment at the Red Square.

Read more: Russian Funerals: Black Bread and Vodka

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You are the key to ensuring well-crafted Death with Dignity laws for all Americans. With your financial and volunteer help, the Death with Dignity National Center, a 501(c)(3), non-partisan, nonprofit organization, has been the leading advocate in the Death with Dignity movement. Individual contributions helped us pass new Death with Dignity laws in Washington and Vermont, defend the Oregon law, and provide education and outreach programs for the vitality of the Death with Dignity movement.

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