Despite its certainty, death (and the process of dying) receives little attention in day-to-day life. When we are faced with mortality, it can be really difficult to draw upon a language and a way of feeling about dying that feels authentic or meaningful – simply because we have lacked the opportunity to think about it.
Though there are people who experience continual and overwhelming concerns about death, for many people it is something that might crop up due to events in the news, thoughts about our own ageing, or witnessing the ageing or dying of others. But these thoughts are quickly put to one side, because, well, they aren’t the nicest thing to think about.
Some years ago, I studied for a qualification in bereavement care through the charity Cruse Bereavement Care. This was a course entirely about death and dying. I found the opportunity to reflect on my own experiences of death, and to listen to the experiences of others, fascinating and deeply profound.
Not everyone will get the opportunity to attend such a course, nor is it easy to start a conversation on death with friends or family.
With this in mind, I thought that pulling together some podcasts about death and dying might be a helpful resource for people who are keen to explore the topic a little further but don’t know where to start.
Podcasts about death and dying from the UK
The Dying Matters Podcast touches on topics such as planning your funeral, talking to children about death and what it’s like to work with people who are dying.
The Art of Dying Well
With episode titles such as “We’re all going to die!“, the Art of Dying Well podcast produces a new episode every couple of months. It’s produced by St Mary’s University, a catholic university in London.
Through interviews and conversations with comedians, griefcast has built up a collection of around one hundred different stories that may provide a source of support or information when you are trying to understand more about the topic.
The Doing Death podcast is by Amanda Blainey and touches on topics such as leaving a legacy and death cafes.
Podcasts about death and dying from outside the UK
When You Die
When you Die, a podcast from the USA, seems to be aimed at people who may already be more informed about death and dying – which topics such as green burials and water cremation being discussed with specialists from these fields.
Living with Dying
Published by Cancer Counsel NSW, The Thing About Advanced Cancer is a small collection of podcasts that touch upon the nature and meaning of death and dying in the context of advanced cancer.
To sum up
Listening to people talk around the subject of death and dying might not seem like the most appealing way to spend your time. Yet spending time listening to other people talk about the topic, and their experiences of death, may be a helpful way of leaning in to a topic that can feel overwhelming and difficult.
If you find the topic difficult to talk about with friends or family, think about what other resources – like podcasts – might be available to you. Perhaps there are groups in your local area, or online, where you can share experiences of death, dying and bereavement. You might also benefit from speaking to a qualified counsellor, like myself.
Whatever you choose to do, see if you can engage with the subject in a way that might push your boundaries but still feels doable.