Thursday, July 15, 2010

Life Before Death: Best. Website. Ever.

Finding humor in death and dying is probably an even more taboo subject than death itself, yet many who have worked with people near the end of life can probably recall numerous situations were laughter really was a dose of good medicine for all involved.  Humor can be a great way to break tension, yet still speak to some truths, however painful.  For example, I recently saw this balloon in a patient's room (picture taken with permission of the family):
They shared that the patient got a big kick out of seeing this instead of the common yet false exhortation of 'Get well soon.'  The balloon often took people by surprise when walking into the room, and that seemed to be the zinger the patient enjoyed to give.

But engaging well people to contemplate their own mortality, that is a bit trickier.  Especially if you are trying to use one's comedic senses.  But I just found a website that I think pulls off this very tricky feat.

Life Before Death is a interactive website encouraging people to think about the things that are important beyond the common worries of Life After Death.  The site was produced by The Lien Foundation and the Singapore Hospice Council who want to facilitate more conversations about death and to highlight the lack of palliative care doctors and access in Singapore.

At the site they have different areas for you to think about death with a little bit of smile to go with your deep thoughts.  You can make a bucket list, say the important things to the people you love before you die, make a song list for your funeral, make a memorial collage for someone who has died.  And they have even made Death someone you can 'like' on Facebook.   To get a taste of the humor is a snippet from the 'About Us' section:
This is clearly not a website for anyone who thinks they are immortal. But the mere mortals amongst you will find lifebeforedeath.com fun, offbeat, wonderfully weird, insightfully inspiring and even delightfully practical. And why not? It's all about everyone's least favorite "D" word – Death. It's no big secret that Death has a bad rep. It is after all the End-of-Life. Boo-hoo. But now, Death is being re-branded with a new image and attitude.
It looks like the site was just launched with the announcement of the Lien Foundation's International Quality of Death Index (covered in the next post) so there is not a lot of activity yet, but take a look around and I think something you see will spark an idea.

After looking at the site I wonder if anyone else will think of the British sense of humor which reminded me of the scene with 'Death' in 'The Meaning of Life.'


(Found website via Life Quality Institute Twitter post)

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