REDESIGNING DEATH: Dr. BJ Miller and Shoshana Berger
04 February, 2020
What if we stopped looking at death as a “failure” and embraced it as a holistic part of our human journey? What would we ask for? How would we change our conversations with family and loved ones? Karen talks to famed palliative care doctor BJ Miller (whose TED talk has been seen more than 10 million times!) and his partner in writing and design, IDEO Editorial Director Shoshana Berger, about their revolutionary book, A Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death.
Design Thinking and Modern Death
Everything we do in life down to the smallest detail is affected by design. But our end of life experience has been largely overlooked, leaving most of us confused, disappointed, and even upset by what we don’t know and what we can’t control. Farewelling founder Karen Bussen sits down with two innovators in the space--Shoshana Berger and Dr. BJ Miller--co-authors of A Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death, to talk about how we might think about, and share, our wishes for a more personal approach. Along the way, they look at how to honor our senses and how some of the simplest things are what make life worth living. They each share the one thing they’d change about our attitudes toward death. As a bonus, Karen asks them some personal questions about what they imagine for their own farewellings.
A Note from Karen:
I'm so proud of this episode, because it combines two things I love--brilliant conversation and creative thinking about life's important events. I was thrilled to be able to meet these two sparkling people in San Francisco after having heard them speak a few months earlier in New York City as a part of their book tour. Aside from being among the most respected experts in the realm of end of life planning, they are also just cool. I wanted to hang out with them both and drink whisky. Alas! They are busy professionals.
If you want to see how nervous I was before this interview, here's a video of me pacing on the street. I was trying to pump myself up for our session at The Podcast Studio where we recorded.
An update: since recording this podcast, BJ has left his previous position and started a new venture providing guidance and counseling around palliative care. It's called Mettle Health, and if you're a caregiver, family member of someone dealing with a serious illness, or a patient yourself, check it out because it is wonderful.
Here's a behind-the-scenes photo, too! Note the fourth person who joined us for the interview--BJ's canine friend Maisie.
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