so first of all I would just really love well first I'd love to say that I'm really honored to be chatting with you today? Um I've been following your work for a few years now and. It came into my life at a very pivotal time for me and it allowed for a lot of awakening and a lot of healing for me. Um I had just lost my first. Grandparent I'm still blessed to have most of the grandparents in in my life and it was the first time that I was I guess faced with a death in the family that was quite close and personal and I had also gone through a very difficult. Breakup and the first book that I had read well actually listen to was die-wise which to me is just hours and hours of beautiful heartbreaking poetry. But the medicine in there I think is so potent and it is so needed. Especially for this time right now. So first of all I just wanted to say. Thank you for that work because it's absolutely beautiful.
07:06.36 Stephen Jenkinson Um.
07:13.68 Stephen Jenkinson Ah, you're very Kind. You're You're very welcome to um, you know the blessing of the whole arrangement is if I happen to do something and it turns out to be useful and then you happen to find it in a timely way. Well. Life may not get any better than that.
07:30.72 wildremedies I agree I agree and for everyone listening today. The context of this conversation is we're gonna be talking about something that will happen to all of us right? or like how you put it in the book for all of us. Who will fail to live forever and for myself you know I've I've spent a lot of time ever since I was a little girl contemplating death for some reason I don't know why I've just been a little bit more spiritually inclined I think but there's a lot of people in our society who.
07:49.91 Stephen Jenkinson Move.
08:08.87 wildremedies I Think don't contemplate death or they're really afraid to and you know I Love how you explain the reasons of maybe why this is in your book. But before we get into all of that if you could I would love for you to explain to everybody. Your background. Um, you know as the angel of death as you explain in in your book.
08:37.17 Stephen Jenkinson Um I don't know if any but he can really quote explain explain their backgrounds unquote but because that's trying to make sense of it. You know, but I can tell you that through a sequence of.
08:50.88 Stephen Jenkinson Ah, mostly accidents and strange timings I was introduced to the idea that there's such a thing as people who take care of people who are dying and I know that sounds naive but I'm going back what twenty years ago or something like that and it was not front page news at the time. Far from it actually. so ah so I can I forgive myself for not for being fairly naive on the on the whole escapade at the time but there was a woman who who knew the work quite well and knew me and she was adamant that somehow I was I had a kind of predisposition and a certain. Capacity that the work somehow ah required or would benefit from I had no idea what that meant. So but I listened to her and I think initially I started with um, working with an ah group of men who'd. Recently has had someone in their lives who had died or who was dying. Yeah, at the time you know, kind of imminently and after about the third session where none of us knew what we were doing in this group least of all me but somewhere in there. It became apparent to me. Um that what they all had in common. As a strong suit was anger. They were very good at being angry and it tended to unnerve the people around them as you know it's understandable, but it was a kind of cover story as well. I mean let's be clear. There are so there's such a thing as as.
10:25.56 Stephen Jenkinson Anger is needed at times and comes in very handy indeed and they were very good at it but they left a certain number of things behind in pursuit of that expertise and the chief among them was sadness.
10:29.84 wildremedies Are.
10:41.83 Stephen Jenkinson So they were just as it turned out just no good at being sad and so one of them dubbed our meeting sad school and it was supposed to I think last six weeks or something and at their insistence in some form or another it lasted eighteen months or their boats.
10:45.34 wildremedies Are.
10:58.81 Stephen Jenkinson And somewhere during the course of that group I came to the attention of the hospital I mean in the best and the best way that that can be meant and they approached me with some kind of full-time thing and I agreed to do it and on real. Let's see what happens because I'm not really organizational material. Not then not now. But um I agreed to give it a shot and lo and behold the woman who knew me well was absolutely right? and the first palliative care patient I went to see in their home turned out to be a physician. Turned out in fact to be a palliative care physician turned out that his early work produced or contributed to the program that sent me to his door for crying I mean how could you ever begin a career that way. But that's exactly what happened and I walked into his room. And he was surrounded by name plates from all the offices that he'd ever had during the course of his medical career. So it's his name. You know, 60 different ways and I sat down across from him and I knew what to do and I don't I don't mean that in any arrogant fashion. But there's no sense in pretending and I knew what I was there to do and I had a sense of how to do it I still had to learn the ropes I still had to learn the the machinery you know the the medical machinery and all of the rest but in terms of of.
12:32.37 Stephen Jenkinson Introducing people to the imminence and the legitimacy and the necessity of their death. Ah that was available to me almost immediately. All I had to do really was translate what that meant. Into a language that was accessible to other people and that was the lion's share of my work as it turned out and I think that's where dyewise came from meet attempting to translate instinct and sorrow and grief and despair.
12:56.38 wildremedies Are.
13:07.20 Stephen Jenkinson And aversion and denial all of those things into a language where dying people could recognize they're dying in it instead of look in vain for the details in the particulars. The realities of their dying because that's the way most people spoke to them in code. You know in euphemism and ah when people speak to you in euphemism your life tends to disappear without a trace very early on in the encounter. It's like speaking people pretending they're speaking to you but they're speaking a language they know you can't understand but they're they're kind of. Obliging you to go along with it. That's what death speak is or was when I was working in the death trade and everything I hear everything I see tells me. It's very likely that things are worse now. Then when I started to work 1518 or twenty years ago
14:10.26 wildremedies Um, yeah, that's beautiful. Thank you for that explanation and one of the things that I find so powerful about. The work that you've done in this book is you know driving home. The fact that we are living in what you describe as a deaf Phobic culture and so I would really love for you to explain that concept to. To the audience.
14:40.86 Stephen Jenkinson Um, okay, well um I I recall very frequently in my early months first couple of years in the death trade people inside the trade and out were unanimous, almost.
14:59.37 Stephen Jenkinson On the matter of what was most wrong with how we did our dying in this culture. The dominant culture of North America and the unanimity gathered around the following point. We just don't talk about death I tell you that's not what I saw.
15:13.69 wildremedies Are e.
15:17.94 Stephen Jenkinson That's not what I heard that's not what I learned I don't think it was ever really true I mean it sounds it sounds good when you shoot from the hip and say I will nobody talks about it but people are talking about it like crazy and I think to a certain degree always have that was never the problem. The problem was. What were we saying when we did talk about it What kind of language we're using as I said a minute ago. What kind of things. Do We find a way not to say I'll give you an example that come from the the work I did you may remember the story from the from the Book. So I phone Up. Um.
15:45.51 wildremedies Um e.
15:56.79 Stephen Jenkinson I'm on my way over to to somebody's house I phone to make sure that they no remember the appointments on and the woman says oh yes, she says ah my son is looking forward to meeting you now he was about 1718 and his father was dying upstairs.
16:12.37 Stephen Jenkinson That circumstance alone and he was ah he was an only child that circumstance alone means without question that she was exaggerating at best or more than likely lying about him looking forward to talking to me.
16:27.70 wildremedies Are.
16:28.30 Stephen Jenkinson And it turns out I was right? of course he wasn't looking forward to talking to me and ah so I was on notice that we were. We were kind of speaking at smoke signals in some crazy way and then towards the end of it. She said um. So just so we understand each other when you're here, you're not going to use the D word right quote. That's what she said now I actually looked at the phone as if I was in a kind of sitcom. You know as I couldn't believe my ears. No one had ever said it that nakedly before.
17:01.54 wildremedies Um.
17:04.10 Stephen Jenkinson Don't use the D word and rather than you know argue or or or challenge her I said didn't you just tell me that your son goes in to see his father every day before he goes away for school. And then comes home in the evening and checks sort of checks in with his dad his his father's basically non-responsive at this point So He's basically drooling on his pillow if you will not to be overly dramatic about it. But it wasn't uncommon.
17:41.30 wildremedies Are he.
17:42.44 Stephen Jenkinson And I said so if I if I don't use the d word in talking with your son. What secret am I helping you keep so you see why I tell you the story I mean it's a true story for 1
17:54.80 wildremedies Are.
18:00.45 Stephen Jenkinson And the woman meant well clearly well I'm going to say that she meant well but she was not proceeding very well not at all the notion that if you don't use the word death or die that somehow there's no dying in the house Or. There's no dying that needs to trouble anybody or or nothing really needs to be said we just have somebody who's interestingly sick upstairs I mean it's just it makes your jaw drop when you start to do the the math on what the implications are of having something happen in the house.
18:27.97 wildremedies Are.
18:38.68 Stephen Jenkinson And forbidding any kind of direct language that would make that whole event real and tangible and something that people can respond to not just now not just during the time of the dying but especially in the months and the years after the death because you're setting the stage now for all kinds of aversion. All kinds of double speak all kinds of you know hand jife and and ah a gross inability to remember deeply accurately. Ah, or. In any kind of mythic or poetic way and all you're left with is the facts the day of the death the cause of the death almost like a death certificate instead of a memory and a life.
19:37.50 wildremedies Um, yeah I know I mean we don't have conversations about death and in this culture and until it comes knocking.
19:47.17 Stephen Jenkinson Or until you call me.
19:49.17 wildremedies I mean we we have no experience we have yeah exactly yeah, it's like in our culture. We're essentially outsourcing the deaf process because it has been stripped from our culture in a way like when we look at indigenous cultures. You know death was part of everyday life same as birth and now we've completely medicalized it and we've hidden it and I really loved one of the examples from the book when you talk about how a hospital is built and the morgue being in the basement and that's by design. Right? It's like to hide the death to put it away. Nobody wants to see this. This is unseemly and it's so sad that we just don't have you know the the other book that I really admire of yours is you know about elderhood and we seem to have lost that connection. Um, throughout time where we've had the advice of those in our lineage to you know, have the experience of what to do during the dying time. Um I was really fortunate to be there to witness. My grandfather's passing when when he left a couple of years ago but it was you know I think a little bit I mean it should be awkward for everybody in a sense where it's like okay this is happening and nobody here really knows what to do about it. Um.
21:24.72 wildremedies But it was humbling in so many ways and I was so glad that I was there to be able to experience it and it's a shame that so many people are afraid to Confront. It. Um, so I'm.
21:42.48 Stephen Jenkinson Um, honestly I think the word Confront might be a little unnecessarily strong even oppositional you know and and the truth of the matter is do everything you can to quote Confront death. But I promise you death wins.
21:50.86 wildremedies Um, he.
21:59.72 wildremedies Um, he.
21:59.93 Stephen Jenkinson So If you imagine it as some kind of conflict or some kind of engagement that has some sort of aggressive or willful aspect to it. This is really a ah misapprehension of what's called For. I'd recommend something closer to this I think dying I think death is a deity you mentioned quote Unquote indigenous cultures. You know I I don't think there's any doubt.
22:27.63 wildremedies Um, the.
22:33.51 Stephen Jenkinson Of the capacity of cultures that are at home in their home places that have a ah degree of cultural continuity that that missionizing and and westernizing and all the rest and now globalizing hasn't completely overwhelmed and part of their capacity. Has to do with this engagement with dying as if dying belongs. It's not the end of belonging. It's not the corruption of Belonging. It's one of the conditions of belonging belonging to life belonging to the world belonging to to the.
23:07.51 wildremedies Um, he.
23:10.14 Stephen Jenkinson The body you're entrusted with belonging to each other and and death belongs at least as much as you do your dying was here certainly from when you got here which is to say. It was always true that you were going to die twas always true. The the knowledge about where and when is mercifully unclear I mean what would you do with the information it would make you absolutely bonkers and the closer It got the worse. It would get.
23:46.50 wildremedies Um, he.
23:48.34 Stephen Jenkinson But the good news is and it it really genuinely is good news is that you get to know all you need to know so that your attention can be devoted to the facts and you're spared all of the information that would absolutely throw you sideways. What an amazing architecture. It is. You know you're going to die how much more do you need to know what will make it clearer what will translate into you.
24:16.73 wildremedies Um, he.
24:23.87 Stephen Jenkinson I'm not a fan of the notion of seizing the day and all this kind of thing but what what will? what?? what? What better preparation is there for you to look out the window and go Wow Still here and then translate the wonder of that. Into how you conduct yourself I mean what else do you need man and yet you know I'm saying this as if it's the most self-evident thing there is and you know there's a reason I'm saying it because the information such as it is or the the kind of.
24:46.95 wildremedies Are.
25:01.71 Stephen Jenkinson Moral stance vis-a-vis life that's available to us is completely lost on us generally speaking and you know whenever the subject comes up the the response that I see much more often than not. Is people palming it away with some kind of ah sort of verbal gesture. A kind of euphemism like oh everybody's dying all the time I mean that's my favorite dismissal. Everybody's dying all the time is it. So It's no big deal then.
25:21.97 wildremedies Are.
25:37.70 Stephen Jenkinson Let me check in with you when you got a terminal diagnosis and let's see if it's no big to you I mean I'm saying that very confrontationally and I mean it to sound that way because ah, frankly, those of us who are part of.
25:43.21 wildremedies Um, he.
25:53.13 Stephen Jenkinson The most materially prosperous culture that the world has ever seen have some kind of responsibility to obey the limits and the endings that are ah trusted to us and we're not doing a very good job and 1 of the ways we betray what's entrusted to us is making out as if.
26:05.23 wildremedies Are he.
26:11.67 Stephen Jenkinson We're all dying all the time. So there's no particular reality to dying. There's no particular. It's not that big a thing that sort of stuff and that that puts my teeth on edge to be honest because of how it how dismissive it is and how it.
26:24.30 wildremedies Are.
26:30.57 Stephen Jenkinson It sets aside most of life and allows you to cling to the part of life that you're most fond of or that benefits you the most it really, we should really be able to do a better job of being alive than we do and knowing that you're going to die.
26:46.15 wildremedies Are.
26:49.54 Stephen Jenkinson Is one way to do it.
26:53.23 wildremedies Yeah I agree so much with that I think living an unfulfilled life is cause for suffering during the death process right? like if you have.
27:08.47 Stephen Jenkinson Um, yes, and not just your suffering your unfulfilled life has enormous consequences for the people around you.
27:23.18 Stephen Jenkinson Um, and it's not clear to me that we we have the right to inflict our unwillingness to live deeply upon others and call that a memory.
27:42.56 wildremedies Um, yeah, yeah, it's almost.. It's almost like a responsibility that we all have right. You know there's a saying now about like living your best life which I don't particularly Love. Um but truly like if you are committed to living in a way that.
27:54.95 Stephen Jenkinson Um, when.
28:10.63 wildremedies Brings light to this world I Think by the end of that life. You can you know feel much more at ease during that process. You know I'm sure you've had a a lot of experience. Um would have noticed ah about the stories in your book.
28:29.33 wildremedies You know is you're witnessing a lot of like this you kind of describe it as like this grinding terror that a lot of people experience during their passing which is very sad and that's what people are really terrified of um and I love for you to explain.
28:33.15 Stephen Jenkinson Um, yeah, yeah.
28:48.37 wildremedies Why you think that is like why we are in that state Now How did we get here.
28:56.52 Stephen Jenkinson Well ah I have a view on the subject I don't know how complete the answer will be but I can contribute at least and I think this is this is this is one of the elements.
29:06.33 wildremedies E.
29:13.74 Stephen Jenkinson If I ask you what happens when you die what happens immediately after and what becomes of you. Let's be Frank. Let's be honest now and admit the distinct possibility. That you're likely to freeze or you're likely to become flustered or you're likely to have had to have recourse to kind of banal truisms you know or then or you're going to start talking about what you believe.
29:34.25 wildremedies He.
29:49.55 Stephen Jenkinson As if the disposition of you after you die is a consequence of your own belief system as if your own belief system comes from and is informed by the realities of your dying which you know it isn't you know in your bones.
29:55.59 wildremedies He.
30:08.79 Stephen Jenkinson That's not where it comes from I can tell you this when I worked in the death trade interviewers would ask me very frequently whether I found that people who came to their dying time with a kind of religious or spiritual orientation to life. Somehow magically did better or as they often said had better outcomes did I think so and my answer was always some version of the same thing. No and they were dumbfounded. How could it not provide.
30:32.67 wildremedies He.
30:45.34 Stephen Jenkinson Or generate a better dying I said oh that's easy. Ah, the belief. The convictions. All of that stuff that they have they didn't develop that from learning about dying while they were learning about dying. They developed that stuff and absorbed it and took it upon themselves in large measure as a defense against hurt against pain against sorrow and unhappiness against disappointment. Against a sense of meaninglessness or purposelessness and you guessed it against dying. So if you develop a kind of so quote unquote spirituality that's not informed by the realities of your dying then you're dying comes on. Something's got to give doesn't it and either you're dying is going to go. Okay, you got me your beliefs are so tight so cool and so clear that I've got nothing to do and I got nothing to say you win have a nice next 36 hours or you know whatever it is.
31:42.18 wildremedies He.
31:59.83 Stephen Jenkinson Or you say to death god I I did everything I could to keep you at Bay and here you are at the time I'm least able to keep you away.
32:16.30 Stephen Jenkinson Um, not very spiritual. Um.
32:18.68 wildremedies Um, no well and I'm actually really surprised by that statistic like I I would think that having a spiritual practice would make you know the death process. Maybe a little more comfortable for for people who are going through that. Um I'd love for you to explain you mentioned death being a deity can can you explain that a little bit more.
32:47.95 Stephen Jenkinson Um I don't know if I can explain it but I can I can breathe on the coals of the idea a little bit. Um well simply if we say the word deity.
32:55.27 wildremedies Um e.
33:05.30 Stephen Jenkinson If we say the word holy or sacred if we say the word god you know 1 of 2 things is likely to happen you get instant buy-in with the person you're talking about uncritical and automatic and immediate high-fiving you so to speak.
33:23.71 wildremedies He.
33:24.91 Stephen Jenkinson Or you get the rolling of the eyes in one way or another So there's our great poverty. No that when it comes to talking about. Let's just call it. The rest of the story. The part of the story that doesn't.
33:33.80 wildremedies Um, she.
33:43.11 Stephen Jenkinson Present itself so readily during the course of our way awakened lives. Um, it's it's dumbfounding to me. It's like having nothing to say about that portion of your life in which you're asleep.
34:01.48 Stephen Jenkinson In which you're dreaming and sometimes thrashing and sometimes ah sleepless even still and and but there's nothing to say about it. There's no language. There's no acknowledgement that there's any reality called the lights are off and the sun is down Well, that's what it's like.
34:19.79 Stephen Jenkinson To deny the presence of something that hasn't happened yet but is certainly present nonetheless and is is that not a bad job description for god hasn't happened yet not in its totality. But certainly is there and because of that has a kind of even the absence of god has a consequence so when I say dying is a deity I mean that you can develop all the 5 ive-stage strategies you want for contending with it for thinking that you prevail even if acceptance is your idea of prevailing. You can do all that stuff but it puts an enormous amount of emphasis upon you. And almost no emphasis at all upon the dying and when dying comes around. Don't you think it's a time for you to learn dying instead of learning what you can do to not die.
35:28.41 wildremedies And.
35:28.97 Stephen Jenkinson Yet 1 more time. So by deity I mean it's a kind of ah strange uncommon persistent.
35:47.83 Stephen Jenkinson Powerful presence That's not really interested in our opinions I mean it's not out to get us or I I guess I would say the deity called death means you no harm.
35:57.94 wildremedies Are.
36:05.63 Stephen Jenkinson It means you though of that you can be sure.
36:16.36 wildremedies Um, there's so much to contemplate there. That's really Beautiful. You know it sounds like there's a lot that we can. Learn during the dying process. Do you? What experiences have you had sitting with people like are are there folks that you've witnessed that you feel have. Experience transformation during their dying time.
36:48.28 Stephen Jenkinson Um, I'm not sure what can you say a little bit more what you mean by the word transformation.
36:54.46 wildremedies Um, I think what I mean is so this process being like something that we can learn from. Um.
37:09.10 wildremedies You know is is there anything sort of like spiritual or transformative or is there an aspect that you have noticed in the dying time that you feel is purposeful um in our life. As an ending that creates. Yeah I don't know how to explain it but essentially like a what? What do you feel? We're supposed to learn during the dying process.
37:42.52 Stephen Jenkinson Um, okay, not easy to answer a question. Is it.
37:48.35 wildremedies Um, you know.
37:48.71 Stephen Jenkinson No okay, well. The first thing I'd say to you is my answer to all of that stuff is not inevitably no. Do I think that dying is a time of you know, profound. Reorientation to life. Not necessarily no well do I think it's a time when people ah can um, trade in their old understanding for something completely renovated by a change. My answer is not necessarily. No. But you've said it's a deity and it's so powerful. How can it? How can it not have its way with us or I didn't say it won't have its way with us I just didn't say that we would be convinced while it does you know one of the great problems.
38:37.17 wildremedies Are.
38:41.48 Stephen Jenkinson That anglo-n north americans have and we have quite a few but 1 of them is our belief that we get a vote in everything that matters that we're an agent in everything that happens that we get to choose that we're autonomous you know.
38:45.46 wildremedies Are.
38:54.27 wildremedies Are.
39:01.49 Stephen Jenkinson Freestanding Sovereign beings that I could go on and on and on and I have to tell you that that has there's no purchase for that kind of stuff when you're dying none whatsoever. It doesn't mean that North Americans don't Take. Or attempt to take their dying into their own hands and turn it into another form of self-expression because they do every day That's one of the things that you know all the reemergence of the hallucinogens in in the the dying time means that's what.
39:35.10 wildremedies Are.
39:37.28 Stephen Jenkinson The advocacy for and the legalization of and the practice of what used to be called Euthanasia means it's ah it's people accustomed to being in charge remaining in charge. But it's a complete illusion. You're not in charge of your dying. No matter how many advanced directives living wills that you might fill Out. You're not the boss. It's not your death. You see. It's death which has been entrusted to you.
40:10.36 wildremedies Are.
40:14.65 Stephen Jenkinson And soon enough will be taken from you. That's what it is and in that sense man does it ever. Resemble life. It was never your life. It was a little piece of life. Was entrusted to you for a while in hopes. Maybe the things could be better on the back end than they were on the front end that one of the signs that you were here and that indeed that you were alive is that your little corner of the world is a little better off.
40:42.39 wildremedies Are.
40:52.10 Stephen Jenkinson Because you came to your senses because you were willing to know and understand these things and learn them because you're willing to devote or at least a portion of your life to translating what that means and doing so in the presence of other people. So that when other people are you know, mournful and and remorseful by virtue of having no living experience. Excuse me, no living example of what it means to see ah 1 human being undertake the kind of work I've been describing to you.
41:26.70 Stephen Jenkinson You become that one human being that 1 example that they might have been looking for or not looking for and you change their lives as a consequence of you taking on the work that's been entrusted to you and you may never know that and you probably won't.
41:29.70 wildremedies Are.
41:45.87 Stephen Jenkinson But it doesn't mean it didn't happen. It does mean that there's an awful lot riding on what's been entrusted to you an awful lot.
42:03.37 wildremedies Um, that's beautiful and I think you know that kind of segues into. Um you know your your other book when you're talking about. Being a good elder right? that kind of encompasses that I just wanted to circle back to what you just mentioned about the assisted dying and this seems to be well. It's a bit of a hot issue right now with. Um, this made program that you know we're seeing in Canada and I'd love to know what your opinion on assisted dying is.
42:37.90 Stephen Jenkinson Um.
42:44.80 Stephen Jenkinson Um, oh honestly I don't I don't have an opinion about it. I I mean nobody cares What I What I feel about it. What my prejudices might be about it I don't even care what my prejudices are on the other hand. I Can wonder about the consequences of it without having to have in a pro or con opinion I mean I can certainly leave that to others because there's lots of people who are you know more than ready to exercise their their vote on the matter. But I I understand it.
43:08.85 wildremedies Are.
43:22.33 Stephen Jenkinson Got to remember now I worked in the death trade at a time when assisted death was Murder It was against a criminal code. You could be charged and yet what we used to call in the trade passive Euthanasia. Happened all the time people did it all the time because they're in a terrible quandary weren't they not only the physicians but the families and the patients as Well. Everybody was in a terrible place. How so well. They had the technology that allowed them to prolong the lives of dying people but nobody ever said the reality the reality was they were prolonging the death of dying people too. Not only, but certainly they were doing that. And then there comes a time at which the prolongation of death itself has to stop. But how do you stop it and the only way you stop it now because the life of the patient depends on you continuing these measures. The only way you can stop. It. Is to stop the patient's life. That's the position you've worked yourself into that's the corner that you're in now and I wonder as this goes On. Do you see any fundamental change in how the culture understands.
44:52.85 Stephen Jenkinson It's death phobia because I'm going to propose to you that the legalization of Euthanasia by a death Phobic culture prolongs. The death phobia. It doesn't change. It doesn't challenge. It doesn't oblige the culture to rethink its position on all these matters.
44:54.20 wildremedies Are.
45:04.37 wildremedies Are.
45:12.23 Stephen Jenkinson Just says right now fix that 1 didn't we we put the choice back where it belongs didn't we as if people have the capacity to make this kind of choice as if it's a quote informed choice. Why do you suppose now that things are sliding sideways and it turns out now. As you knew it was going to happen that euthanasia or made to use the term. It's used today that made turns out not to be just for people with a terminal diagnosis. Not anymore for people with intractable suffering regardless of whether they're at the end of their lives or not.
45:43.36 wildremedies Are he.
45:50.23 Stephen Jenkinson Yep, it's available to them now and a lot of other subsets of sorrow. So there used to be as I understood it a kind of ah committee that had to decide whether or not you who were applying for inclusion into the program were. Depressed. For example, if you are Depressed. You're disqualified. Why is that well because depressed people ah want to die because they're depressed not because they're dying anyway. But wait they're dying in a death Phobic culture or they're not dying. In a death Phobic culture but they will What do you suppose that does to people Well I was there I saw it every day I know what the answer to that question is see. It's the reason that I took upon myself the activism that I did because people are not. Capable of sorting this stuff out because it's a culture level Problem. It's not an individual belief Problem. It's a problem at the level of the gross malfunction of the culture. You could even call it The gross malpractice. Of the culture. So here. We are on the other side of having legalized made and how death Phobic Do You think we are now how death Literate. Do you think we are now how grief Literate. Do you find us being now. Why are we even talking about this stuff.
47:23.56 Stephen Jenkinson Now that we've got the magic pill or the magic bullet or the magic way where the suffering doesn't have to be anymore. How are we doing now see so my point is Lo and behold. We got our wish and I wouldn't be least bit surprised. By some kind of metrics that I can't anticipate. We'll find in five or ten years that we're worse off than we were.
47:52.56 wildremedies Um, yeah I agree I think it's a really frightening concept and it's interesting because I've experienced it firsthand. Um, so the story that I told earlier about my grandfather. Um, he actually opted for the assisted suicide and it was in palliative care so we were in the hospice and when he was. First told that he was going to die that was the bomb that he reached for first. My mom told me that my grandfather was so grateful or relieved and what he had said to her was. Aren't I So lucky aren't I So lucky that we have this option available by which he was meaning to speed up the process to get it over with right and when I had asked him I I you know, asked him I said are you.
48:53.21 Stephen Jenkinson Um, yeah.
48:59.36 Stephen Jenkinson Right? right.
49:06.93 wildremedies Are you afraid to die grandpa and he said no no like you just he he wasn't afraid of it. But I think that he was right because he wanted to he wanted to move through the process more quickly. And this was before the made programs. This is a couple of years ago and the way that it was being being done at that time was um, you know it was sort of legal but kind of under the table and you had to sign a document so when I watched him pass. It was very very medicalized. A doctor came into the room and had a bunch of really really big needles and it was yeah I mean I'm I'm grateful that I was there to witness and you know I'm also happy that he was able to.
49:46.27 Stephen Jenkinson Um, sure it was.
49:52.16 Stephen Jenkinson Um, yeah.
50:03.56 wildremedies You know, sort of go out on his own terms. But I think it does there. There are some complications there or perhaps this option. Maybe it's almost like a spiritual bypass of some sort right? like if there are lessons to be gleaned through. The dying process might it be. You know a bit of an issue that we are looking to push that away. You know we live in a culture where anything natural. We're medicalizing everything at this point. And you talk about that a lot in your book. You know this ordeal of a managed death and buying more time and what that does to the dying process as well is is really a shame and it's It's become a business itself right? like you call it the death trade which is really fascinating. Do you want to explain that a little bit just like the concept of the death trade and and what you've seen happen over the years
51:12.66 Stephen Jenkinson Um, well, it's not much of a concept. Really it's I just looked out one day early on in my my career I guess you would call it and it occurred to me that the word death or dying it just. You know it's nowhere to be found and the truth of the matter was there's only 1 thing that all the people that we worked with as quote clients unquote had in common 1 thing. Well okay, 2 things 1.
51:32.39 wildremedies Um e.
51:47.43 Stephen Jenkinson They were dying 2 They were dying in a death Phobic culture and yet there was no acknowledgement of culture and there was very little acknowledgement of what terminal means what it should mean what it should oblige you to. How you might want to reconsider what your life looks like and what it's for and you know people routinely say to me who are you to say what death should mean to people my answer was well so far nobody is. So I'll volunteer for the job until people with better Expertise undertake the work and it never happened on my Watch. So I think the phrase death trade is not. There's nothing insulting about it. There's nothing.
52:31.40 wildremedies Are e.
52:42.90 Stephen Jenkinson Untoward about it. It's a perfectly legitimate description of of a work that is ah partly career partly employment partly vocation partly finger in the dike partly doing your best under very trying circumstances. Partly the opportunity to get it right? Finally I mean there's a lot of things at play. But man if you're if you're part of any medical system Any Health Care system basically in any country and you're trying to undertake this work the more highly evolved. The medical technology is excuse me medical technology is the greater are going yeah are will be the obstacles against surfacing the realities of dying because the technology is devoted to keeping those things at Bay You see just the way.
53:28.11 wildremedies Um, he.
53:35.50 Stephen Jenkinson That the advent of hallucinogens on the on the ward will be employed very similar for very similar purposes to keep the realities of dying manageable. You used the phrase earlier um coming to yeah I think was your grandfather came to his death. On his own terms is the phrase you used and you know I Just wonder and I'm not trying to bust you in any way at all here. But I Wonder why is that so inherently good your own turns when nothing about the terms that you come to it with.
53:56.93 wildremedies Me.
54:09.96 wildremedies Um e.
54:13.95 Stephen Jenkinson Come from dying. They all come from somewhere else. It strikes me as very odd calculation to imagine that coming to your death on your own terms means you somehow win I I Know what's the upside supposed to be. I Mean your own terms instead of what.
54:34.30 wildremedies Um, he.
54:37.20 wildremedies Yeah, that's a great call or question and I think what it is is like to bypass the pain right? people fear the pain and the suffering aspect of death.
54:55.57 Stephen Jenkinson Okay, listen let me sorry ready clear sort of jump in but I'd I'd just like to say that please don't mistake me as saying people shouldn't be fearing pain and all the rest come on Now this is ah it's a very fearsome situation. There's no doubt about it.
54:56.38 wildremedies And so to unless the Sizer know.
55:12.86 Stephen Jenkinson And there's nothing of what I'm saying that favors some kind of white Knuckle Run where you just hold on for all your worth and and go through hell not in the least I'm not a fan of suffering I'm not advocating it I'm not trying to preserve a circumstance in which. Suffering is guaranteed I'm telling you suffering is guaranteed and there will be a particular kind of suffering that's a consequence of all these bypasses that you're identifying and referring to there's no doubt in my mind that this is already the case. But. You know, apparently the magic bullet. Maybe it's not the best phrase. The the magic is that you get to do it your way. Well I was there when people did it their way and I can tell you there wasn't much to be envied. When dying becomes another couple of paragraphs in your autobiography dying is bigger than you someday. North Americans Some of us will learn that and so maybe some of us will proceed.
56:11.50 wildremedies Um, he.
56:29.46 Stephen Jenkinson As if it's true. Finally.
56:34.25 wildremedies Um, we have so much to learn about this right now you know like it's yeah yeah, we do. We have so much to learn. We're getting close to the end.
56:40.85 Stephen Jenkinson Um, yeah, that's true.
56:53.15 wildremedies Our time but I have 1 more question for you or more of a contemplation. Um, it's an excerpt from your book and you say dying wise is a political act that challenges the status quo.
56:54.91 Stephen Jenkinson Um, okay, are all right? yeah.
57:10.24 wildremedies Could you elaborate on that a little bit.
57:13.29 Stephen Jenkinson Um, it has maybe I might have said it slightly better and said something like the consequences of dying well dying wise are political as much as there anything else I think the last.
57:28.60 wildremedies E.
57:31.90 Stephen Jenkinson 55 minutes is an example of what I'm referring to everything I've been saying has political implications and I don't mean party politics now I'm not talking about running for office politics I mean the notion of um.
57:50.65 Stephen Jenkinson Whether or not we should how we might possibly take all this medical innovation technological innovation and so on and adjudicate and regulate its impact upon us because that's not happening. The technology is the boss The innovation is the boss and we are all playing catch up on the consequences and that's still happening. That's a political situation and people who are small p politicians or Capital P Politicians we all have a responsibility. To recognize that the thing we think we're the beneficiaries of we're not only beneficiaries and we're putting a lot of things into motion that are going to have consequences for your children's generation or your grandchildren's generation if that's the way it works out certainly the generation. There's no question at at all. We're putting things into motion that they have no choice. Ah, ah in that they're going to have to live in the presence of nonetheless. So I think it's only fitting to say that the way in which you die in the recourse that you have.
59:00.90 wildremedies Um, he.
59:06.72 Stephen Jenkinson And that you exercise in the course of your dying is nothing but Politics. It's also mythic and poetic reality. It's also a psychological and a spiritual reality.. It's also a cultural ah Village based Reality. It makes community or it breaks it as it says in the back of the book. So There's a lot at stink every time somebody comes into their dying the orbit of their dying.. There's a lot at Stake and all you hear me doing here is making a plea that that understanding actually shows up.
59:27.36 wildremedies He.
59:44.32 Stephen Jenkinson That we don't wait for it to intrude into this proceedings that it should be the proceedings.
59:57.90 wildremedies Um, oh my gosh so much we have so much to learn what is to contemplate here.
01:00:03.59 Stephen Jenkinson Um, yeah, it says this is a decent start though.
01:00:09.68 wildremedies It is it is and honestly I mean for anybody listening to this conversation like we are just barely touching the surface here and so I really really really appreciate you coming on today. Um, just to.
01:00:16.75 Stephen Jenkinson Um, correct.
01:00:25.90 wildremedies Start this conversation and get these ideas out into people's ears because you know I'm always I'm always going on and on about the concept of Sovereignty and.
01:00:32.28 Stephen Jenkinson Um, me.
01:00:43.88 wildremedies Seeing that through to all aspects of our life and I feel like we need to take back power in so many different ways whether it's through you know the different systems that we have whether it be educational or medical and this ties into it too right. Um, if people want to learn more because there is so much to Learn. Um from you How can people connect.
01:01:16.44 Stephen Jenkinson Um, oh we have like who doesn't have a website I do too so it's called ah Orphan Orphan Wisdom Dot Com just like it sounds all 1 word and everything I'm doing all the public appearances and the performances and so on.
01:01:18.65 wildremedies Are.
01:01:24.90 wildremedies Are.
01:01:30.79 Stephen Jenkinson Everything's listed there. There's a lot coming up in the course of this year and the chances are as good as not that I might be coming to a town near you. So um, it can happen that way and with that I'm going to have to excuse myself because i.
01:01:41.43 wildremedies Are.
01:01:48.99 Stephen Jenkinson Have things I have to attend to here on the farm. But I do appreciate the invitation and the time you took to speak with me about the matters and the questions that you came up with and and thanks for the privilege of doing so you.
01:01:51.30 wildremedies He he.
01:02:02.37 wildremedies Thank you so much. It's been my. It's been such an honor. Thank you again for your work.
01:02:08.20 Stephen Jenkinson Great. Thank thank you too. Thank you for that Bye Bye now.