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.


May 26, 2024 43 mins

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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Meet Iris Van Nespen, a Belgian emergency room physician turned life coach. She's on a mission to help women, and people in general, reclaim their joy and self-acceptance. Iris emphasizes the importance of recognizing one's own beauty, believing that it leads to a more fulfilling life and, ultimately, contributes to world peace.

Iris delves into the challenge of judgment, both self-judgment and judging others. Drawing...

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My guest this week is Deborah Grassman and for 30 years, she served as a hospice nurse practitioner within the Department of Veterans Affairs. While trained as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, her focus shifted towards hospice care, where she unearthed a unique revelation about trauma's transformation at life's end, an aspect not formally identified before.

In her discussions, she shed light on the distinct challenge...

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Meet Brenda, a Londoner who, at 59, has dedicated most of her career to the charity sector, specifically working with Friends of the Earth, an environmental lobbying organization. Around four or five years ago, Brenda faced a challenging period at work, compounded by issues with her eye health and the onset of menopause. This stress took a toll on her physical health, leading to a month-long absence from work, during which she stru...

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In the 1970s, Elizabeth Kubler Ross and Dame Cicely Saunders revolutionized our approach to death. While Kubler Ross emphasized the neglect of the dying in America, Saunders proposed a novel philosophy with her Hospice program. The focus shifted from mere medical treatment to a holistic approach of embracing life during the dying process.

Our guest, Barbara Karnes,  a registered nurse, embarked on her hospice journey driven by ...

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My guests today are Kathleen McGee, Elder Care Coordinator and Director of Care Coordination at Rothkoff Law Group and Chelsea Duckers, one of the care coordinators at Rothkoff Law Group.

In an ideal world, we'd all proactively plan for future challenges, especially as our needs change with age. Reality often sees us facing issues reactively. Rothkoff clients range from those in good health to those in crisis, spanning the enti...

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January 7, 2024 43 mins

In this episode, my guest is Narinder Bazen, founder of the Nine Keys Death Midwifery Apprenticeship.

In her twenties as a Kundalini yoga and meditation teacher, Narinder found herself officiating weddings, blessing babies, and attending deaths within her community. Embracing her mystic roots, she began offering death care, grief care, and trauma care. 

Our discussion evolves into the challenges of death work in a society that o...

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