Death Education Workshop Series

Death Eduction Workshop Series with Certified Death Doula, Laura Silver

Unveil the shroud of mystery surrounding end of life preparations with this six-session workshop.

Join us on October 25 for a FREE introductory session: Introduction to the Work of Death Doulas, then register for the remaining sessions.

Wednesdays, October 25 to November 29
7:00 – 8:30pm | Paperny Family JCC
Member $75 | Public $100 | Code 9507

Register for the free session and for the full series at Customer Service Desk or email Danielle Braitman.


Series Syllabus


Workshop One: Introduction to the Work of Death Doulas 

  • How has death changed over the last 100+ years?
  • Realms of care: Planning, Vigil, Legacy, Grief and Bereavement.
  • Examples of death doulas “in action” – stories of how death doulas have helped their clients.
  • Difference between hospice workers and Death Doulas.
  • Glossary: There are a lot of terms and phrases thrown about with respect to dying and death. We will review words such as “palliative”, “hospice”, “visioning” and others to ensure we are all on the same page.


Workshop Two: Your Life in Review – Meaning and Legacy

  • This is a very interactive session that will encourage people to think about their happiest memories and greatest achievements in life. No attendee will be compelled to share personal information that they don’t want to share.
  • We will spend time reviewing humorous obituaries and funny gravestones, we will talk about how the example obituaries and gravestones honoured and reflected the life of the person in question.
  • We will talk about the meaning of legacy, and the value of legacy within a family or a community. We will look at different examples of legacies.
  • Attendees will have time to consider what their legacy might be. Sharing ideas within the group, we will talk about practical ways that attendees can actually start working on their legacies and how we might involve family members in the creation of our legacy.


Workshop Three: Dementia and End of Life

  • What is dementia? What are the stages of dementia? Why is my loved one acting that way?
  • How can I have the best interactions with my loved one? We will look at what to say and what not to say to loved ones with dementia.
  • Dementia is a terminal illness. We will talk about what we can expect as our loved ones approach their last days and hours.
  • Home care, memory care, support, and services. It’s a maze! The paperwork is unreal. Let’s look at some of the options.


Workshop Four: Death and Dying

  • Exercise: What is your perfect death? What do you hear? What do you see? What do you smell? What are you touching? Who is with you? What will be the things you want to taste? Where are you? Attendees may share their visions if they are comfortable.
  • What is vigil? What is a wake?
  • Discussion: How can we create our best case scenarios in real life? Is there anything we can plan ahead (for example, a music playlist). Are we comfortable enough to share our best case scenarios with our loved ones?
  • Education: What to expect when a loved one is dying from natural causes; we will review the telltale signs that someone is close to death.
  • Medical Assistance in Death (MAID). We will talk about the legal aspects of MAID. We do not discuss the merits of MAID nor share individual opinions on this subject, as it is very sensitive. Attendees will have the option of leaving this workshop before we cover this topic.


Workshop Five: What happens before and after death in Alberta?

This workshop will cover what can and can’t happen in Alberta with respect to what happens immediately after death, and options for disbursement of remains. Options are presented as legal possibilities, with the acknowledgement that not all cultures or religions will resonate with some of the options.

  • Paperwork? What paperwork? Explanation of different important documents, what purpose they serve, and how to get them completed. (Wills, Powers of Attorney, Advance Directives etc.).
  • My loved one passed away at home. What now?
  • My loved one has passed away in the hospital. What now?
  • The role of funeral homes.
  • The role of a Death Doula once a death has occurred.
  • What are the options for my remains?


Workshop Six: Grief and Bereavement

  • What is grief? How does our society handle grief? How do our families handle grief?
  • Grief vs Mourning,
  • Secondary Losses: what else did we lose?
  • Dispelling common grief myths.
  • Discussion: What is helpful and not helpful to a grieving person?


About Laura Silver

Laura Silver is a Certified Death Doula with the Home Hospice Association, sits on their board of directors, and is the current Calgary Chapter Chair. Laura has a vision of every community having their local death doula, and that every member of every community has access to the resources, support and compassionate care that allows them to spend their final days in comfort and peace in their chosen space.