Seeing Death Clearly

Seeing Death Clearly

Seeing Death Clearly is a show that challenges you to think about your beliefs about death, dying, grief, and living life. I am your host, Jill McClennen, a death doula and end-of-life coach. As a death doula, I found through first-hand experience that the more I came to terms with my thoughts and feelings about death and dying, the more present I became in my everyday life and I hope to share that with you too, how you can live a better life by having a healthier relationship with death and dying. Each episode features a guest who shares their beliefs and stories about death and dying. These are honest conversations about a topic most of us avoided talking about our entire lives. I am on a mission to change that, one conversation at a time.


July 7, 2024 39 mins

Sean Lynch has been writing his whole life. His first poetry book was published over a decade ago in 2013; since then, he's released four more. His latest book, “Halo Nest: poems on grief” is a deeply personal collection about grief, began nearly seven years ago after his mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016. Sean's mother battled the disease for about a year before passing away at 59. 

The new poetry book...

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Shelby Forsythia helps grieving people move through the pain and overwhelm of loss to experience peace, purpose, and joy again. She believes everyone deserves a good life, even if it’s not the one they thought they’d be living. Shelby Forsythia (she/her) is a grief coach, author, and podcast host. In 2020, she founded Life After Loss Academy, an online course and community that has helped dozens of grievers grow and find their way ...

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Dr. Jeffrey Sankoff, originally from Montreal, Quebec, Canada moved to Denver over two decades ago, where he has been practicing as an emergency physician while raising their children. Outside of medicine, Dr. Sankoff is an avid triathlete and triathlon coach, hosting a podcast on the sport.

He shares how early-career doctors often grapple with feelings of failure when a patient dies, a process complicated by the litigious natu...

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Lisa Pahl is a licensed clinical social worker in LA, she has extensive experience in community mental health, domestic violence, and supporting survivors of torture. 

Early in her career, she worked at the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture, and after moving to LA, she worked in community mental health for several years. She then switched to working in hospice care, where she found her true calling.

In 2018, she co-cr...

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In this episode of Seeing Death Clearly, I spoke with my friend Ashley Holmes, a Holistic Fertility Coach dedicated to supporting women struggling with infertility by bringing mind, body, and spirit into balance. Her journey began from personal experience, facing her own fertility challenges, which inspired her to help others. Ashley noticed the widespread, unspoken grief and suffering that comes with infertility and miscarriage. T...

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My guest in this episode is Stephanie Jones. One significant childhood memory involves the first time she remembers discussing death. This incident led to a brief conversation about death, spurred by her grandmother's passing soon after. Growing up as a Jehovah's Witness, death was framed within the context of resurrection and an afterlife, which provided some comfort but also left her with many unanswered questions.

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In this episode, my guest is Dr. Brendan Kwiatkowski, an educator, researcher, and speaker focused on the social-emotional development and well-being of boys and men. Brendan, who earned his Ph.D. in Education from the University of Edinburgh in 2023, conducted an in-depth study on the emotions, masculinities, and schooling experiences of teenage boys. His interdisciplinary research merges psychology, sociology, and education to hu...

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In this episode, my guest is Ashley Oppon, host of "Dine with the Divine." Ashley, a registered nurse from New Jersey, describes her nursing job as her "muggle job," revealing her love for theology and religion. Growing up Catholic, Ashley's curiosity led her to explore various faiths, finding something meaningful in each. This exploration shaped her understanding of human belief systems and the cultural si...

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In this week's episode, I talk with Helen Bauer, host of the Heart of Hospice podcast. This is part 2 of a two-part interview. Over the years, she's observed a profound inward shift in patients as they approach death, noticing changes in their communication and socialization long before their bodies begin to shut down.

In describing the dying process, she emphasizes the profound stillness she's witnessed at the m...

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In this week's episode, I talk with Helen Bower, host of the Heart of Hospice podcast. This is part 1 of a two-part interview. The following is a link to my guest episode of The Heart of Hospice Podcast.

As a nurse with 34 years of practice, Helen introduces her unique bond with Sonny, a 74-pound golden doodle, wit...

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My guest today is Sue Burns, author of the book A Common Life, A Voice from the Progressive Era where she published her great-great grandmother Mary's diary from the late 19th century Iowa farm life.

We talk about the demographics of Iowa in the late 19th century., Her great great grandmother, Mary, managed to raise six children without losing any, although there might have been unrecorded miscarriages or infant deaths. Su...

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Amy Flanagan has had a diverse career journey that led her to a unique role in medical education. Initially pursuing acting from a young age her passion shifted, leading her to the Uniformed Services University, the U.S. military's medical school. There, she played patients with different illnesses, aiding medical students in honing their diagnostic and communication skills.

Her enthusiasm for teaching through experie...

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My guest in this episode is Chaplain Hank Dunn. Hank is an ordained healthcare chaplain, bestselling author, and speaker who, for more than 30 years, has been helping patients and their families as they struggle with end-of-life decisions. In this episode emphasizes the importance of understanding these treatments as they may not always align with what's best at the end of life. 

His experience as a nursing home chaplain l...

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Following the decision, I prioritized my aunt's comfort as we prepared to remove her oxygen support. The nurse and I made her as comfortable as possible, opting for comfort care with a touch of morphine to ease her pain.

Reflecting on the day, I found solace in the serenity of the room. With all distractions muted, I held her hand, conveying love and reassurance, even reading aloud from "A Wrinkle in Time.”Despit...

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In the latest episode, I share a personal experience of losing my aunt after her two-week stay in the ICU. 

Despite being familiar with medical procedures from my volunteer work, seeing a loved one in that setting was different. I remember walking into the ICU and hardly recognizing her.

During her last days, the hospital ensured her comfort, although it was tough seeing her struggle. I had discussions with the pa...

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Marie Scott, the Creator and Founder of Happy and Healthy After Widowhood boasts an impressive resume as a best-selling author of three published books, with two more in the pipeline. She's also recognized internationally as a speaker and holds certifications as a Health and Grief Coach.

Following the loss of Dave, her husband of three decades, and her mother in the same year, Marie pursued education, laying the groun...

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Meloney, a first-generation BVI islander from Tortola in the Caribbean, shares her unique cultural background, heavily influenced by her Jamaican roots. She highlights the diverse religious and cultural landscape of Jamaica, including the presence of various ethnicities and religions. Despite being predominantly Christian, Jamaican culture is a fusion of different beliefs and practices.

She delves into the intersection of Chris...

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Dr. Kim Harms has encountered numerous challenges throughout her 67 years. She endured the tragic losses of her mother, son, and husband, all to different circumstances. These losses prompted her to delve into the topic of death, exploring how individuals manage it and the impact it has on their lives.

In her reflections, Kim highlights the unexpected nature of grief, especially when it comes to losing a child. She emphasizes t...

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February 25, 2024 45 mins

Isabel Knight, also known as The Death Designer, operates a unique business focused on end-of-life planning. She employs principles of human-centered design to assist individuals in navigating the complexities of death care. This approach involves co-creating systems and products with users to ensure they meet their needs effectively. 

Isabel emphasizes the importance of making death care more human-centered, aiming to all...

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Jen Henry was born and raised in Riverside, California, where she still resides. Her mission, which she refers to as lifestyle recovery, stems from her upbringing as an only child, where everything was handed to her without understanding the value of need or want. Despite having both parents, she felt disconnected and misunderstood, with her emotional intensity often overwhelming those around her.

Tragedy struck early in Jen&ap...

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