Losing My Mother Inspired Me to Help Others–Like You

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Maria Shriver.com– Friend of The Conversation Project, Barb Sedoric, was recently published on Maria Shriver’s blog. She tells the story of being blindsided by her mother’s death. Not only was she blindsided by grief and sadness, but by the myriad of decisions she had to make. She talks about the questions she faced such as “Should there be an autopsy?” “Will there be a memorial service” “What is the status of her finances?” Read the full blog post here.

How Jazz Singer Dolly Baker Found Voice on Deathbed

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ABCNews.com- The Conversation Project is thrilled to have been featured on ABCNews.com. The major news outlet highlight the story of Dolly Baker, a former jazz singer who found rediscovered her singing voice in her final days of life.

In the last days before her death, 92-year-old Baker rediscovered her voice with Beth Israel’s palliative care specialist, and advisor to The Conversation Project, Dr. Lachlan Forrow. Dolly did not want to undergo amputation surgery and was referred to hospice, Forrow asked her, “What would make a good day for you?” That simple question revealed a woman whose passion had been singing. For the first time in 40 years, Baker joined her daughter and sang a duet, “What a Wonderful World.”

Read the full story here, and visit The Conversation Project’s YouTube site to the full video of “A Soul Doctor and a Jazz Singer.”

The Soul Doctor and The Jazz Singer

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“The Soul Doctor and The Jazz Singer”

What can a doctor do when there is “nothing left to do?”  At the end of Dolly Baker’s life, one doctor asked a question that made all the difference to her, to her care providers and her family. He asked simply and deeply:  “what would make today a good day for you?” He got to the heart of his patient, and with deep respect asked what mattered to her, not “what was the matter with her…”

No one on the hospital staff would have guessed that this shrinking 92 year old woman in a hospital Johnny facing the end-of-life was a former jazz singer, who could still scat and croon with the best of them.

How important and yet how rare is this moment. Dr. Lachlan Forrow is considered “The Soul Doctor” of internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He also advises The Conversation Project, a public engagement campaign with a goal that is both simple and transformative: to have every person’s wishes for end-of-life care discussed, expressed and respected.

In this exchange we see how humanity at the end-of-life can transform a hospital room into a private concert hall, and transform the perspective of young doctors, who will help their patients truly live their last days.

Watch the full video here.

Right, before I die

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Be sure to check out this incredible photo story project by Photographer Andrew George. It captures photos of real people at the end of their lives as well as some of their wishes, hopes, dreams and regrets.  View the entire project here.

End of Life Decisions: Why Aren’t We Talking?

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Be Smart Be Well: “Why do we have so many people who are dying in ways that they did not want to, often in ways that are more painful, more isolated than they wanted?” asks Eric Hardt, M.D., associate professor at Boston University School of Medicine. The answer, he told Be Smart. Be Well., is that many people are not making their end-of-life wishes known to loved ones.

Be Smart. Be Well. sat down with Dr. Hardt and other experts in end-of-life care to examine why people find talking about end of life so difficult and how we can start talking to family members about end-of-life decisions.

Watch the full video here.