The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Episode 107--Losing a Parent: Celebrating the Life of Dan Clement Hazard with End of Life Coach Danielle Slupesky

October 11, 2023 Billy Lahr
The Mindful Midlife Crisis
Episode 107--Losing a Parent: Celebrating the Life of Dan Clement Hazard with End of Life Coach Danielle Slupesky
Show Notes Transcript

In this week’s episode, Billy talks with Danielle Slupesky, the End-of-Life Coach and Death Doula, and Matt Hazard, the always entertainer co-host. Before you listen to this episode, I want to give you a heads-up that it will be a heavy episode. We will be talking about death from a professional and personal perspective. So, take time to sit with any emotions you will be having while listening to this episode. Please do what you need to do to take care of yourself. 

We celebrate the life of Matt’s father, Dan Clement Hazard, and journey with him throughout this experience. We will also hear and experience how a professional death doula cares for the dying and the family members. 

Billy, Matt, and Danielle discuss:

–The beautiful life of Dan Clement Hazard
–Dan’s last few moments on Earth
–How Danielle became an End-of-Life Coach aka Death Doula
–The similarities between birth and death
–How Danielle assists the dying and the families in the process

Want more from Danielle Slupesky?
Check her LinkedIn and web Conscious Crossroads

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Billy: Coming up on The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Matt: I think that when everything is said and done, and all the things that I've regretted or the consternation that I've had with my dad over the years, the things that I am grateful for and the things that I appreciate about him are going to be the things that I most remember. I'm always going to remember his voice, just hearing him talk as a comfort, and mostly just want to say thanks, thanks for being my dad.

Billy:  Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. I'm your host, Billy Lahr, an educator, personal trainer, meditation teacher and overthinker who talks to experts who specialize in social and emotional learning. Mindfulness, physical and emotional wellness, cultural awareness, finances, communication, relationships, dating, and parenting all in an effort to help us better reflect, learn, and grow so we can live a more purpose-filled life.

Take a deep breath, embrace the present, and journey with me through The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm your host, Billy Lahr. Thank you for tuning in. Wherever you are, the purpose of this show is to help you navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. Now, the format of today's show is going to be a little different, so I'm not going to do my whole call-to-action spiel right here. Instead, we are going to be talking about a topic that is often seen as taboo or too morbid or too unsettling to bring up in polite conversation, but at the same time, it's something that we all experience. So, rather than avoid the conversation, today we're going to talk about death and why discussing death is not just important, but also essential to living a more fulfilling and meaningful life. But in order to do this conversation justice, I wanted to bring on a couple of people who can share their experiences with death, both from a professional perspective and a personal perspective. So with that, I'd like to welcome my co-host, the always entertaining Matt Hazard. Matt, what do you got for us today?  Matt Hazard, the always entertaining Matt Hazard.

Billy:  Matt. That was a soulful entrance. Matt Hazard, Thank you very much. Part of this episode today is to take some time to honor your dad. Geez, I'm going to get emotional. Just a heads up. This is going to be an emotional episode. I don't even know why I'm getting teary, because we've had a lot of guests on this show and, Matt, you lost your dad here recently and I was wondering just to kind of start things out, if you would like to share the 10 roles your dad played in your family's life and what those roles meant to you and your family, and then just share some of the moments you remember with your dad.

Matt: Yeah, so we lost my dad about two weeks ago. He was 83. The roles that he played in my family's life were a father, grandfather, a great grandfather, husband, a cancer warrior, a salesman, a veteran, a trivial knowledge savant and a Green Bay Packers fan. Sadly.

Billy:  When you look back on growing up as a kid and into teenage years, and then into your 20s, your 30s. You get married, you become a father, he becomes a grandfather to your children. As you kind of look back on that, what are some stories, what are some things that stand out, particularly when it comes to those 10 roles and what those meant to him and what they meant to your family?

Matt: Yeah, so my father was a voracious reader. So I remember very distinctly a lot of my memories as a kid would be him sitting in a chair with TV on entirely too loud reading a book, and you'd say his name 10 times to get his attention and that was after a full day of work or whatever. But I remember from a very young age we would watch Jeopardy together and I would just marvel at how many of the answers he knew and why and how he knew them. He never cooked. He very proudly talked about how he never changed a diaper, which is hilarious when you think about he had five children. I remember always there was a lot of being a ham, being funny. He was very personable. He was a salesman. He sold home remodeling and you think about that working leads and that kind of thing and just getting into people's houses and getting them to buy a home edition. That is something that it takes a special kind of talker to do and I know you know that because your dad's very much the same way. And then, going into my 20s, one of the things that I kind of categorically remember is I wanted to move out immediately when I was 18. And because I was like I love you, I love my parents, I can't take this shit anymore. I got to go and then I was like, oh, you need money to be out here. So then I came back for a little while and they were very supportive when I left. They were very welcoming when I came back and supportive when I was able to go again. And I just remember him kind of treating me like an adult almost immediately when I wanted to be treated like an adult. And then, like when I was 31 or 30, he was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer and they gave him six months to live and I wasn't married, I was single at the time and I really kind of just felt like I was getting my shit together, like I was just starting to really become a man, which is we've talked about that in a lot of episodes where, like, men mature later. 30 is often an age where that starts to happen. So that diagnosis kind of floored me. And then it was actually Minnesota oncology I'll give them a shout out because they were like hey, we have this breast cancer drug that is qualifying for like 5% of cases for esophageal cancer If you have this certain DNA marker or whatever in your cancer and we'd like to test you for it. And he qualified for it miraculously. And we had him for 12 and a half years instead of six months, and in that time he saw me find the woman of my dreams, get married, have two beautiful children his eighth and ninth grandchildren, or seventh and eighth, eighth and ninth. He cared for them for a couple days a week as like supplementing daycare. He and my mom. My kids know him well and I didn't. I didn't know that was ever going to be the case, so that is something I'm forever grateful for. The thing that I'll always remember about him is he wasn't always the best dad. It's a hard thing when your dad's a salesman. He's gone a lot. He doesn't make great decisions all the time, but my God was. He was a great grandfather. Outside of being a great grandfather, he was a great grandfather and he would do anything for my kids. So I'll always be grateful for that as well, and that's really his story through me. As I remember him, those are the things that stand out to me. First of all, thank you for sharing.

Billy:  I know that he and your mom moved down near you towards the end of their life. I imagine that they were tired of Minnesota winters, like many of us are. What was that like to have your dad near during those last few years months?

Matt: Yeah. So we all moved down here together. Actually that they were a big part of the reason that we were able to do this move. We didn't want to bring our whole family away from their grandparents my kids grandparents and I felt like all of the my other siblings, my four other siblings, were like the nearest one is in Fairmont, minnesota, which is a couple hours away from the city is for those listening around the world. So everyone was at least a couple hours away and we were like, hey, we have this opportunity in Bentonville, arkansas, which is actually like the next town south from where my dad's father and mother retired in 1984. So we were like Is there any chance that you'd be interested in moving south? And they were like to Bentonville specifically and they were like, yeah, they were just like, yeah, let's go. And so having them here with me the whole time I got a lot closer is probably the closest I was to my parents as an adult, certainly, and it's the closest I had been to them since I was really a child in their house. I saw them almost every day. My kids saw them every day. I would still go over and sit and watch Jeopardy with my dad If I had time. At the end of the day he was still like oh gosh. The other thing that stands out, which I don't know if we've talked about in the past on this show my favorite thing to do with my father was fight. I really, really enjoyed arguing with my dad more than anything else, and I would often take a position that I didn't even really care about just to fight him. That's something that I'll miss probably more than anything is our spirited debates, and I always told him that I was like you're not going to get senile on me, dad, because I'm gonna keep you sharp, and he never did. I mean, he got like the very end. He was still pretty sharp until kind of the last couple of weeks, but yeah, the very end was very hard, but I wouldn't trade the time.

Billy:  You told me about the very end last week before we recorded that episode, and I'm wondering if you're willing to share what that was like with our listeners, because there are most likely listeners who maybe in that situation now or we'll face it here before too long, and so if you're willing to share, yeah, it's just.

Matt: I mean, it's a big struggle. The last month of his life he started to go through kidney failure. That can do things to your mind as well. So he would start to go off on kind of crazy flights of fancy where he would think he thought that there was like the hospital was a conspiracy against him at times and didn't want the care. And then there were days where he was more clear and then it's basically when the kidneys aren't cleaning your blood that can impact your thinking and he ended up dying from sepsis, from an infection. The one thing I'll always be grateful for, the many things I'll be grateful for but the hospice care. Those people do such a good job of making sure that they're comfortable as much as possible. So I could tell that he was fading, but he was never in pain that I could see. At the end he would make sudden strange movements. Oh, great story. The night that he was taken into the hospital and the conspiracy that they weren't trying to care for him, they were trying to kill him, was what he had in his head. There was a male nurse and my dad literally tried to take a swing at him, which was was hilarious. He looked right at me, he smiled, put up his finger like one second and then turned, tried to punch the nurse who was just going to like I don't know he was going to do a blood test or something. It was. There was just a lot of very weird stories. We can actually I'll tell another super brief one that we can cut if you want, because it's about farts again.

Billy:  Then it's in the show, then it's in.

Matt: But he, my sister, was visiting because my siblings all came down quite often during the last month, which was really nice to help keep some of the load off of me. But he looked at my sister, right in her eye, and he like had a long passing of gas and then he just goes what about that buck's snort? Wait, wait, so it's. What about that buck's snort? Bada Bing, that was just he emphasizes it, he puts the exclamation point on it with the Bada Bing, bada Bing, a phrase I'd never heard him utter in his entire life. So, and that was when he was particularly non lucid. But I would visit him every day, which is another thing they don't talk about is how that's a stressor on your family and on your relationships. Melissa was a superhero my wife for us, caring for the kids and just being there when I had to go or when I felt like I needed to go, and I visited him almost every day. I brought a guitar with me every day and cowboy chords. I'd play church hymns and sing with him and he would just say something like there's an old hymn that I heard in 1957 and then he would think of like a few words from it and I would look it up on the internet because that's a thing that you can do, and I would play it for. I would listen to it quickly and I'd sing it and play it for him and he's like how, how did? Like you couldn't even fathom how that was a thing that could happen. But yeah, it's the last few days. He died on a Tuesday. I brought my kids to see him the Sunday before and didn't bring them again because when we went in there previous to that, he would always as much as he was either in discomfort or in a delirium or just far away. He would see his grandkids and it would kind of ground him and he would smile. And the last time they came he didn't make any kind of sign of recognition. So we didn't stay long that day and it's hard to explain to your kids what's happening, but we were very open with them about what grandpa was going through and that it was going to be over for him soon and they understood I think. But I don't think they really kind of grasped the gravity of it, that it's permanent. So they cried at the funeral when I cried, but kind of not really they never cried and I remember actually I was 20 when my grandmother died. I sang at her funeral. I sang at my dad's funeral also, but I sang at my grandmother's funeral and I was yeah, I think it was 25 or 26 and I didn't cry until my dad cried and I remember that distinctly and I thought that that might be the case for my kids and that's what happened. The last month was. It was just hard to watch, but there were moments of still joy in that time there were moments of celebration, there were moments of consternation. My oldest sister there was a family drama a year and a half ago. My oldest sister is not actually biologically related to me. We found out when she was 55 and that she had the time she was able to come down and she was able to become whole with that and find forgiveness for that secret, because she never hated him, for, I mean, he gave, he did the very best that he could for her and he took her in, but he claiming to be for her mother's sake, which was my dad's first wife. He never told her that she was not his daughter and she wanted to be spiteful about that, but she knew that the time was short and so she found her peace with it before he was gone, which I'm sure she's grateful to find that. But yeah, I think that last month we just kind of all had the time to say what we wanted to say, which is another thing I've thought about a lot, because we lost my father-in-law almost four years ago and he died very suddenly and none of his children were able to say all of the things at least not to him that they needed to say, and I felt like I was able to say everything and I had all that time with him where we were very close. So I feel good about the life that he had here at the end for the last five years. I feel good about the care that he got at the very end and mostly I'm just very grateful that I had him for as long as I did, because he was 40 when I was born and I'm 43 and you're not guaranteed that. So I just mostly feel very lucky, but I do feel very sad.

Billy:  You and I were brought together through our love of music.

Matt: Yeah.

Billy:  And that sounds to me like your love of music was a byproduct of your father's love of music and I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about his influence on your singing. Because, listen, I have you sing at the beginning of the show. I say dance, monkey, and you sing, because I love hearing you sing and I know your dad loved hearing you sing too and I have a little story about that too. But I was just wondering if you could talk about his influence on your love and passion for music.

Matt: Well, so I should open with. My dad was a terrible singer, like barely carry a tune. My mom was where I got the singing from, but the love of music. We grew up in church. We would go to church four days a week at least and mom sang in the choir. Dad was a deacon and we would sing a lot and my dad had terrible rhythm and was not a good singer. Also, he was a huge fan of, like classic rock and roll and that was a big influence on me. He often told a story about the very first concert that he went to, and at the University of Wisconsin when he was a student there, I think it was James Brown was the headliner and opening note Shoot. I don't remember if it was James Brown, but the opener was someone that he had never heard of. He comes out on stage and he starts to sing and just electrifies this audience, and it turns out that it was a young Otis Redding and my dad saw him in concert and like. So he was always really like revered those old soul singers, and we used to have those records on vinyl and we would spin records together. I would try and sing along the righteous brothers. I remember him thinking it was so incredible that I could sing the high parts of the righteous brother songs and he was a big Elvis fan was one of my favorite things to fight with him about, because I hate Elvis.

Billy:  He did not like the Beatles.

Matt: I remember him saying he hated the Beatles, but he loved Elvis and I love the Beatles and I hate Elvis. So that was just. I often found the other side of the argument for spite sake, but that was for musicality sake. The Beatles are better than Elvis. Sorry, sorry about it. But yeah, he loved music a lot and I think that he was probably one of the things that he was most proud of of me outside of being a good family man you know the things that I've, that I've become in my middle age years he was proud that I was a musician that entertained people, that people were enjoyed what I did.

Billy:  Well, and that was the story that I wanted to share with you, because I have seen you sing more times than I can even count, with the Brute Squad, and it totally makes sense that you grow up listening to these soul singers, because I've always considered the Brute Squad to be a classic rock and soul. You guys sing these very soulful songs, play these very soulful songs and you do such an incredible job bringing them to life. Your mom and dad. There would be a lot of times when I would go to those shows by myself, just because I wanted to see you guys. So you know, I knew that I would probably run into people that I knew. But I remember a handful of times and I had not met your parents yet at that point. But I remember one time your mom and dad said hey, you're Billy, aren't you? Yeah, yeah, and they're like we're Matt's parents, why don't you have a seat? And they would invite me to sit down with them when I hadn't over to sit, and then we would have a conversation about music. And that's when I found out that your dad was a Elvis man and hated the Beatles and, to no fail, any time they were at a show and if I was there, they would ask me to sit down and join them, so I am grateful for that, and I'm grateful that I got to enjoy time with your parents watching you do one of the things that you're best at, and so I'll give you here the last word.

Matt: I think that when everything is said and done and all the things that I've regretted or the consternation that I've had with my dad over the years, the things that I am grateful for and the things that I appreciate about him are going to be the things that I most remember. I'm always going to remember his voice bad, as it was at singing, but like just hearing him talk is a comfort and mostly just want to say thanks, thanks for being my dad.

Billy: Well, thank you for sharing that, and I think this would be a good time for us to take a break. We'll regroup and then, when we to regroup, we are going to come back with a very special guest who Is going to help all of us process the inevitability of death, but find a way to find comfort in having these types of conversations. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. If you're enjoying what you've heard so far, please do me a favor and hit the subscribe button. Also, giving the show a quick five-star review with a few kind words helps others find and benefit from this podcast, just like you are. Finally, please spread the wealth of free knowledge and advice in this episode by sharing it with the people in your life who may find this information and my mission to help others live a more purpose-filled life valuable. My hope is that these conversations resonate with others and inspire people to live their best lives. Thanks again, and now back to the show. Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Matt and I are here celebrating his dad's life. Totally forgot to share His name. So, matt, can you share your dad's name with our listeners, please?

Matt: Yes, yes, my father. His name is Daniel Clement hazard, so it's an old Daniel's, not an old name, but Clement is well, I suppose, daniel's a biblical name, so it is very old name. But Clement is an out-of-fashion name. He was born in the northern part of Madison, wisconsin, in 1939. His parents were Jared and Alvaretta, so another great pair of old names. He was born the first year of World War two and my mother was born the last year of World War two. So definitely generation that is Falling away from us.

Billy: Well, I know I'm not super great at having these kinds of conversations, but I do want to learn how to support people when these conversations come up because you know, as we said, death is the one certainty in life. So I'm delighted to welcome in our other guest of honor here today, and today's guest is Daniel Slupesky. As a Certified end-of-life coach and death doula, daniel offers non-medical, practical, emotional, mental, spiritual and physical support to those who are preparing for, nearing and at the end of their lives. She also provides the support to their loved ones and caregivers. Danielle volunteers with hospice and as a grief support group facilitator in Albuquerque, new Mexico. She is a former emergency room RN who felt called to begin working in the end-of-life and grief space After she suffered a near fatal blood clot which changed everything for her. So welcome to the show, daniel Slupesky.

Danielle:  Oh, thank you. Round of applause and everything.

Billy:  Yes, yes, we, we like to welcome our guests. We, you know, make them feel good about about being around us.

Danielle:  I have to admit it was hard to remain quiet through some of these jokes. Earlier you guys had me crack it up.

Billy:  That's good, that's good. We're glad that people find us entertaining, because we find each other entertaining but do others, so thank you. Words of affirmation will get you everywhere with me. So one thing we like to do with our guests is we like to have them share their ten roles. So could you please share the ten roles that you play in your life?

Danielle:  Absolutely so. I'm a wife going on 12 years now, dog and plant mom. I listed those out separately. I consider myself a student of life, a way shower, a holder of sacred space. I am also a daughter, sister and aunt. I'm not that old, quote-unquote yet, but I definitely am considering myself a wise woman. I've entered elder hood very early, based on life experiences. I Also consider myself a mirror polisher and I am a solopreneur.

Billy:  Mirror polisher yeah, has caught my attention. Can you talk a little bit more about that? Absolutely.

Danielle:  I think that we are all just mirrors for one another, right, and so if, if we consider that every experience we have in life Does something to our mirror, right, it either helps clean and polish it or it leaves a smudge or a fingerprint or some dust. Some experiences cracker mirrors, and if I can keep my mirror as clean and polished as possible, I can reflect to others who and what they truly are, right, their truest form. If my mirror is all cracked and smudged, right, I'm reflecting to them my junk, not who they really are.

Billy:  I like that. I think that's very beautifully stated. I wanted to talk a little bit about this wise woman. We're gonna get to what a death doula is and what your role is there, but I think you're your own near-death experience. It was the catalyst for becoming a death doula, and so could you walk us through what you mean by your role as a wise woman and how that near-death experience at age 30 changed you?

Danielle:  For sure. So part of what came along with all of the medical stuff was Very spontaneous early, premature menopause, right. So physically, I actually had a doctor tell me that on the inside I'm closer to 65, 70, which, yay, thanks for that, dickhead, so Thanks. So. But that along with, like prior to even the hospitalization I went through, and your death experience and all of that, I stuffed a lot of life into a really short period of time several very traumatic big experiences, big forms of loss Losing family members to homicide, losing family members to cancer, lots of stuff. And I think that so often in society now, women especially I mean men too, but definitely women do everything they can to not age. Everything is about Botox and hair dye and lifts and tux and all of these things and fillers. And I think that we're Discounting an extremely important part of our developmental process, right, this entire stage of life where we've gained all of this experience, and it's now our job and our honor to share that experience. And so, instead of pretending that I'm 20 and running around trying to do that, it's like when I hit 40 this past year I was stoked. It was just like, yeah, all right, that's a big milestone and I earned every single one of the gray hairs and every one of my crow's feet, and so I think I'm choosing to kind of rebel against this status quo at the moment.

Billy:  Well, that reminds me of when we had Greg Shimon on episode 41, the midlife male. He talked about how he's not anti aging, he's just about aging better. He's trying to help men age better, and I think his dad passed away at 47 and Greg's 50. Now he calls it bonus time, that he's in bonus time right now, because you just never know, right. So he looks at his dad passing away at 47 and he's at 50 and it's bonus time. And I think I take that for granted because my grandparents lived a long life and both of my parents are healthy. So it's just kind of I think I have this assumption that, oh well, that I probably live a long life too, and I think that there's a little bit of complacency. Then that just sets in along the lines of well, I can just do whatever I want and had a physical the other day and they told me that my LDL is the highest that it's ever been and I also have early onset kidney failure because I eat Advil like candy. So they're like you need to start hydrating and you need to stop taking Advil. So I'm like, oh Okay, I guess I am mortal and you know, that kind of rocked me a little bit. I'm wondering if you have an idea as to what your doctor means by you're closer to 65 and 70 on the inside. Is he referring to your organs then?

Danielle:  I think that was more in a reference to. So, like I said, I've been in, I'm post-menopausal, I'm with your menopause at 30. I have full blown osteoporosis. All of the other things have checked out okay so far, but as far as all of the female internal organs, they're closer to 65 70. But I think he brought up so many really good, important things right there that I'd love to dive into, if it's okay, of course. So with that, like you know, I take ibuprofen like candy. What is your body trying to tell you and what are you masking on a daily basis without much ibuprofen? Right, these are the things I want to get people to. Or it's like these little aches and pains and Headaches and the joint stuff and all of these things like, yeah, you might have a medical diagnosis that quote-unquote explains them, but it's information your body's trying to give you. And how do we learn how to listen rather than mask?

Billy:  Yeah, and it's a good reminder because I'm very good with reading anxiety in my body and I've talked about that in a lot of times for and the somatic experience of anxiety and being able to name and tame. But then you know just these other things that you know I hurt my neck years ago headbanging at a space needle concert with Matt hazard and when I went to the massage therapist she said this is what car crash victims look like with. They're like you gave yourself whiplash. So you know, just trying to, yeah, amass the pain of that With Advil. So I want to steer this conversation away from me, because every episode is about me. I want to keep the focus here on Matt and his day had.

Matt: Oh, I'm totally fine, I’ll take a leave.

Billy:  You're good. You're good, yeah. So I switched to Tylenol. I guess that that's better, but I'm sure that that's worse in some other way too. I don't.

Danielle:  I don't make your liver mad later, so yeah, yeah so I.

Billy:  Need it. Yeah, I need to get myself figured out here, but I was wondering if you could take a second here, because I've heard of a birth doula before, but you were the first death doula that I had ever heard of and it really caught my attention when you messaged me back in the day. I'm like this is a conversation. I need to meet Danielle, we need to have this conversation, and then we have this opportunity here now To have it. So I was wondering if you could explain what your role is as a death doula, and then I just kind of want to turn it over to you to have a conversation with Matt, so you can kind of demonstrate what it is that you do.

Danielle:  Yeah, thanks. So, like you said, a birth doula helps bring life into the world, very much like a midwife. Deaths doulas are the opposite side of the same coin. There are so many similarities between birth and death. I feel like, on our way into the world, the hard work of labor, that responsibility falls on our mothers. On our way out of the world, that work of laboring out falls on us. Matt talked about some of that this month of labor. That's really what the process is. You have these really painful periods. You have some periods in between where you can catch your breath and you can talk and joke even, and then it's almost like contraction phases. And so, using that analogy further, the same environment you want to create for a birthing mother calm, safe, peaceful, full of love, knowing that they're held is the exact same environment that we want to create for someone who's working to exit the world. By the way, the word doula for anybody that wonders, it's just an ancient Greek word that means a woman who helps or serves. So back in ancient times it was always a servant or a slave, and I think that's important to note because it you know this work of birthing babies and helping dying people and taking care of sick people is messy and dirty and emotionally challenging and all of those things, and so before it was only seen fit for the help, and now there's this kind of resurgence of this Ancient tradition of people being called to the bedside to do this work and a lot of ways we've given up our power to these institutions and medical establishments to take over the responsibilities of birthing and dying and, like Barbara Karns says, she's really big in the end of life space. Death is not a medical event, it's a communal event, you know. And so how do we bring that back, bring death back into the community, and that's what doulas are working to do, and that can happen at home, that can happen in an inpatient hospice, that can happen in an ICU. So I meet people where they are.

Billy:  Well, I guess I'd like to have you meet Matt where he is. So, matt, if you have any questions that you want to ask Danielle, or Danielle, if you want to facilitate that conversation, go for it.

Danielle:  Yeah, I'll go ahead. I want to start by saying thank you very much for sharing your dad with us today. I really do believe that every time we share them, we keep them alive, right Like they're living on through us and through our words and our memories and our stories. So thank you.

Matt: Yeah, I believe that too.

Danielle:  Cool and, along with that, to not be too light about it, but Tree of Trust. I'm sure you guys are familiar with what that is right. Well, this is a sacred space that we've created here between the three of us, and so I want you to understand that I honor it, I respect it and thank you for your vulnerability and diving in this deep, because it's not easy to do so. Thank you.

Matt: Okay, you're welcome.

Danielle:  So what I normally do is ask you to tell me about your dad, and we've kind of done that. Another question that I really like to start with is tell me about a time that your dad showed his love for you and that you felt it. That is yeah that's.

Matt: My dad is an old-fashioned human being, so shows of affection during my childhood I struggled to remember them. He taught me how to golf and that was a proud thing for him. I remember that was the first time, when it was 12 or 13, that he ever like really treated me like a man was when we would golf together. That was, I think, his form of showing affection. Now, later in life, is very different. I think that he would very comfortably say I love you to me, and I would say it back, especially at the end of a good argument. So I guess the last one that I really remember where I was feeling love from him was I would walk into his house in the morning with my kids when they would watch them a few days a week and he always had the news on and it would drive me absolutely batty, just nuts, because the news on its best days is morbid and violent. And my kids would walk in and see Uvaldi or Parkland and I was like, dad, you just can't, you can't have this on. And then one day I just started showing up and I always showed up with the kids, with my dad. I showed up with the kids very sporadic, it could be 40 minutes difference one day to another and I walked in the front door and he was watching Curious George and he could have been watching it for 40 minutes. So from that day forward it. Just he never had the news on when he knew they were coming and I felt loved and respected in that moment.

Danielle:  Oh, that is such a cool story. Thank you for that. And along the same lines, I'm going to flip it now. And can you tell me about a time that you showed your love for him, whether as a kid, as an adult, some display of love?

Matt: A display of love, that's. I mean, I feel like most of the things that I've done for my dad in the later part of his life have been to help he and my mom. They were never rich people, they didn't plan well for they were on a fixed, very fixed income. So materially I helped them a lot. But I think of things like just time my, my biggest displays of affection for my dad were giving him time, because material things. They were very pleased that I gave them a comfortable life here, that we gave them, I should say, a comfortable life at the end for him. But I think the thing that he loved the most was just spending time with me and my kids and my wife and having family close. So that was the greatest gift I could give him. We would go to his house every Sunday or he would come to our house every Sunday for dinner and we would spend three, four hours either watching baseball game or a football game or whatever was on TV and we'd sit and argue and at the end of every argument it would always be like, all right, well, let's table this for next time. I love you dad, I love you son. That was just how it went.

Danielle:  It sounds like you guys had a really cool relationship that not everybody gets, so it's really cool to hear and to again for you sharing him with us. A couple of things that came up when I was listening to you earlier Jeopardy how's it going to be watching Jeopardy? How do you bring him into that space, rather than feeling the loss of him in those moments Like how do you? Bring him back into that.

Matt: I actually watched the newest celebrity Jeopardy last night and it was a weird thing because there's a lot of it. Like I also am pretty skilled in minutia that in no small. But like any love of music I have is less than of an influence of my father, than my love of trivial knowledge. So watching and doing well, sitting like especially if I'm sitting around other people watching Jeopardy, and like look at how many of these I know mother fuckers but watching Wheel of Fortune. But like even last night celebrity Jeopardy, questions are easier, Answers are easier than regular game. But there were a number of them and I was like, oh, I didn't know that one, but I bet my dad would have. I bet my dad would have known that one. Yeah, I'll think about them every time I watch that show.

Danielle:  It's funny because my husband and I watch Jeopardy every night too, and my ridiculous superpower is that when no one else on the panel knows the answer, I do. So talk about ridiculous amounts of knowledge, right? If the Jeopardy people don't know what chances are, I do, most of them know. But so how old are your kids?

Matt: My kids are seven and five. Oh, they're little, nearly eight, nearly six.

Danielle:  Okay, so you brought them up earlier. And that was a big moment, right when your dad couldn't respond to them. How did you explain it to them in that moment? What did you say?

Matt: I think what we said was you know, we had been talking in the weeks prior to that like grandpa's going to be going to heaven to be with your other grandpa. That day, when I brought them home, I said you know how grandpa? He couldn't really see you. He looked at you but he couldn't really see you. And they were like yeah, and I was like I was like that means he's close, it means he's seeing whatever's on that other side, okay.

Billy:  That was really good, man, I just sorry, that was really good, that got me. Well, that was a really that was a really beautiful explanation.

Matt: Well, it got me when I said it in the moment too.

Billy:  Yeah, that was a really beautiful explanation to your kids.

Danielle:  It is. It's really sweet. And then my next question with that is have you used the words dead, died, dying, through any of this process?

Matt: Not early on, but certainly in planning for the funeral, certainly in the last week of his life. We did use the word die, we did use the word you know, grandpa's died and he is gone. So, yes, we've tried to establish that finality. When we first were bringing it up, we were just like grandpa's really sick and we think he's going to be going to heaven soon, okay, and but as the finality was closer, we did use that word. Yes, okay, those words.

Danielle:  I bring that up because that is a big thing that you know we get into the research and all of that that we've shown with kids is that we understand the euphemisms that we're using, like they're gone or they're in a better place or they're in heaven. But working at the grief center, it started off as the children's grief center, you know, and over the years the kids would be like, well, I want to go to heaven too, let's just go to heaven and play with them. Then you know, and they don't always understand exactly what that means, and so it's important at some point, like you did, to bring in the clinical words, the technical words and making sure that they understand that finality. Yeah, so I'm sure you guys have all heard of Kubler-Ross's Eight Stages of Grief.

Billy:  Elizabeth Kubler-Ross yes, Okay, I didn't know that there were eight stages.

Danielle:  Yeah, so hers has eight stages, but we we meaning society kind of co-opted her research, which was based on the dying person. It was the stages that the dying person themselves go through to accept and come to again. Acceptance is the final one acceptance that they're dying and we just kind of took that to be. That's exactly the same process that the grieving go through after someone has gone. And there are many other models that work a little bit differently. But in the end, where they were talking about the four tasks of grief or the eight stages, the final stage, if you will right, is acceptance, acceptance of the reality of the loss and meaning, making out of said loss. Now you're super fresh, right? This is two weeks out. We're way away from quote, unquote final stages, if there ever is such a thing. I'm not big on doing the stages of stuff. I've done all the work and the certifications and the things and what I've come to realize is that grief never ends, we just learn to live with it. It's not that I think that the grief gets smaller, it's that we get bigger around it, right, it never really changes itself. We learn to grow and expand and create space around it and I think that healthy grief is fluid and warm, almost, and amorphous, and it comes in waves, right, and at times those waves can be super chill and fine and other times they can be these huge tsunamis that take you out out of nowhere. As long as it stays fluid and moving and you allow those waves to come and go, I think that's healthy right and we allow ourselves to sit with whatever's coming up. I think the danger comes in when we don't allow that movement and we allow our grief to congeal and get cold and it hardens around our heart and that's when we end up isolating and we end up diving into unhealthy coping mechanisms and things like that. So, just in hearing you talk in the beginning and going through your story of your dad and how easy you allow your emotions to come up, I think that's awesome. It's incredible so many people, especially men right, are so good at stuffing that they don't allow that fluid movement of things. How do you feel about riding the waves of your emotions?

Matt: I've always thought it was really important to show my kids that it's okay to cry. I think that it's interesting, the grief. So far it has been some of my happiest moments since he died. When I hit those waves of grief, it's the happiest memories that I have of him and I get emotional over that and even now as I'm tearing up, it's not sadness, it's I'm remembering. So I don't think I agree with you. I don't think grief ever goes away and I don't know that I ever want it to. I want to have those memories and moments that I always want to, have the emotion about it. I always want to feel it Because I think in that way I'm remembering him better.

Billy:  Can I ask something in that, please, could you talk a little bit about the guilt of moving forward and the guilt of moving on, as I'm hearing Matt talk about not ever wanting to let that grief go, and I'm wondering too, matt, if you did, is it because you would feel a sense of guilt that you're not honoring your dad any longer and this is years down the road, I imagine. But I think about parents particularly who have lost their children and they leave the room as is, because they're holding onto that memory and they may feel a sense of guilt if they change things. So I was just wondering if you could talk a little bit about the role guilt plays in grief and in moving on from grief.

Matt: I feel no guilt about moving forward. What I worry about or what I feel scared about or vulnerable about is when that time the progression of time and removal of time from an event in your life it just makes it easier to talk about when something is raw and something is new. Emotionally it is a breakup. The birth of a child. They're beautiful emotional moments that like when I talk about my nearly eight-year-old daughter's birth. I'm not gonna tear up about it, but it's eight years ago. I was so proud in that moment so it was the most life-changing moment for me that I had ever experienced and I was emotional about it when I would tell people about how proud I was to be a dad. Like I would cry in those moments and I'm not gonna do that now. It just doesn't happen, it just doesn't come forward and I imagine in the fullness of time I'm gonna be comfortable and not tear up when I talk about memories of my dad and how they wash over me at moments now. And I love that raw, emotional moment. I love the way that it expands your chest, the way that it just kind of washes over you and I don't wanna lose that. I know that I'm going to. I know that in time I'm just gonna be able to comfortably talk about it and it's not gonna raise up those big emotions as much and I lament that day coming and I know it will. But that's what I think about. It's not guilt.

Danielle:  Thank you for clarifying that where you stand on that before I dive into the guilt question, because when you spoke about it, I interpreted it that exact way, that it was this positive thing that you wanted to hold on to, the big emotion of the memories, and you took me down the route of right Like this. It doesn't surprise me these big, heavy moments of grief come up in your most positive moments, because it's grief is love that doesn't have a landing place. So when you're the most full of love and the most full of him, it also hurts the most. Right, and that's one of the most challenging things we as humans have to do is hold two seemingly conflicting things at once. I'm full of joy and love and gratitude for all of the extra time I had with him and for the fact that he's no longer confined to a body that was no longer serving him, and yet I'm destroyed that he's gone and I don't have him here and I can't argue with him and I can't watch Jeopardy and poke fun at each other. So it's both, and so I think that that's grief. Work is learning how to balance those two things, and I think that life is learning to balance gratitude in one hand and grief in the other. In between you have the prayer of life. That's what we're all after is that balance. If you're full of nothing but gratitude, you lack a certain amount of depth and empathy for others, and if you're full of nothing but grief, you're consumed by that, and so it's that in between place, and so thank you very much for clarifying all of that. Now, billy, to come back to your question about guilt. This is such a recurring theme in grief. Work is guilt and regret and remorse, and I'll throw shame in there too. I think that's a big part of all of that. It's much more challenging to learn to let go and release when you can't have reconciliation, whether that means it's because someone's already gone or because someone is still here and for whatever reason that relationship, you can't actually come together to have some sort of reconciliation. My goal with the end of life coaching is to get us to have those moments of reconciliation before a death, so that we're not left with those guilt feelings afterwards. If that doesn't happen, there's lots of work to be done and lots of unpacking to do, and that almost kind of falls more depending on where a person is into the role of a licensed therapist than a coach. But to speak to it, what you were saying is like with parents, right, that let go. They have to let go of a child and can't get themselves to change the room because it feels like it's giving up on their kid or let it. You know, I never loved them. If I can be happy again, right, or if I smile, or if I have joy, that proves I didn't have enough love for them. That again comes back to these. Trying to hold these moments of gratitude and accepting the reality of the loss is step one in that Is. Step one is you have to get to that place of they're gone, but I can still be okay, I can still find joy, I can still be present in my life, and I can feel hurt at the same time. So often, I think for people, it's just letting them know it's okay and to have permission to feel all of the things. That grief is all at once right. It's not just sadness, it's not just anger, it's the constellation of all of it and physical symptoms. So I think we're programmed with an idea of how we should grieve and then, when we aren't grieving that way, we feel like there's something wrong with us, and so I think step one is just teaching people what grief really is and what it is not, and what is really helpful and what is not, and hopefully that can help someone get through that guilt phase.

Billy:  Well, thank you for explaining that. I think that's a good spot here to take a break, because you've really focused on the emotional support that you provide as an end of life coach for families and specifically here for Matt. But there's also the logistics the messy logistics that occur when someone dies as well. So we're gonna take a quick break and when we come back we're gonna let Danielle and Matt talk about some of those logistics and how Danielle supports people in that process. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. New episodes come out every Wednesday to help you get over the mid-week hump. If you'd like to contact me or if you have suggestions about what you'd like to hear on the show, visit and click contact us. While you're there, don't forget to sign up for the newsletter to get free weekly meditations as well as free resources from our Reflect Learn Road Program. You can also click on the show notes for links to the articles and resources we referenced throughout the show. If you wanna check out my worldly adventures, follow me on Instagram at Mindful underscore midlife underscore crisis. My hope is that my trials, tribulations and successes will inspire you to take intentional action to live a more purpose-filled life. And, while you're at it, remember to show yourself some love every now and then too. Thanks again, and now back to the show. Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We are celebrating the life of Daniel Clement Hazard. That is the always entertaining. Matt Hazard's dad passed away and we are doing that here with end of life coach, the death doula, daniel Slupesky. Danielle, thanks again for joining us here. We talked about the emotional support that you provide, but there's also the logistical support that you provide. Could you talk a little bit about that and, matt, if you have any questions for Danielle about the logistics? You and I talked a little bit about it last week off air and I'm wondering if you have questions that you want to throw Danielle's way. Well, I mean mostly so.

Matt: The age of discovery has passed me for that, because I know most of the logistics, because I've just gone through them. The one thing that I think it's a great thing to talk about for our listeners is just running down how much fucking money it is. It costs a lot of money to die and, depending on, obviously, the situation. But funeral expenses, hospice expenses, hospice specifically, is usually covered by Medicare, medicaid, whatever, but the dirty little secret they don't tell you there is the hospice is covered, but the bed in the room is not, and so your care is covered. But you're paying $265 a day to be in the place, you know, depending on what place it is. But and then you can apply for if you're on a fixed income, you can fill out a mountain of paperwork and apply to have some of those funds covered. But then they go after your social security or they go after pensions or everything, and you have to show that you haven't had that much money for that long and you know, like your bank balances, you have to give all kinds of financial statements and birth records and things just to apply, and then they can still deny it. You'll speak to this. I'm sure that, mercifully, that most people's hospice days are relatively short, although the care can last up to coverage. It can last up to six months. Most hospice days are 20 days or less. My dad's was eight days, so it's just, it's a ton of money. I feel like there's a whole systemic question that goes on top of that. You know and I think you spoke to it a little bit before where we take this process of dying back from medical conglomerates and things of that nature, because I mean, it's a racket all of it. So yeah, I guess my question is why don't we talk about that more and why don't we know more about it and can you explain, kind of, what that process is like for most people? And it's shell shock.

Danielle:  I think that you actually just described perfectly what that process is like for most people. It's a mess and it's chaotic and it's time consuming and it's frustrating and it's completely illogical and it is not patient or family centered. So why don't we talk about it? I'm working on that right, one podcast at a time. I'm out there waving my flag, but ideally, right what? I would like someone to come to me the minute they receive some sort of life limiting diagnosis, the minute you know something's going on. So, 12 years ago for your dad, you have this scare, this brush with mere mortality, and you come and say, hey, I need help. And we sit down and I go over with you exactly where you want to die. Do you want to die in a hospital? Do you want to be in an inpatient hospice? Do you want to make sure you stay home? Depending on that answer, then we go down. You know one of three tracks, because those are pretty much your options. Now I will say that the numbers are close to 80% of all Medicare costs are spent in the last three months of life. That's insane, right? That's telling me that we are doing invasive procedures and giving medications like chemo and intubating and doing dialysis on 95 year olds that we know we're not going to cure. So, going back even further systemically, if we don't accept that we're going to die, if we don't accept that we are impermanent and if we can't accept that that is okay. That leads us to doing things like I just mentioned life at all costs, regardless of quality of life. And so, ideally, what the process looks like is, like I said, we start that planning. You say I want to die at home. I say that great, that's fantastic. So these are the hospices that are available in your area. These are the ones that I like. For this reason, this reason and this reason, these are the ones that I've worked with and had great experience with. And you get to choose your hospice. We get you set up on hospice depending on what your insurance is and all of that stuff. Then I go through a very specific vigil plan. So in your dying time, when you can no longer speak for yourself, what are the things that are most important to you? And I get down to the minutiae, looking at all your five senses. Right, what music do you want in the room? What flowers do you want in the room? Are your feet always cold and you need to have socks on? Do we need to put your hospital bed facing a window because you have a big pine tree that you planted 20 years ago and you want to see that tree and smell that tree as some of your final moments? Which family members do you want in the room? What relationships do we need to nurture and reconcile before we get there? How do you want to be remembered and what legacy projects can we do before you get there? So it's really diving into who you are, who your family is and what you want specifically, rather than your Mr So-and-So in room 14 and your medical diagnosis. That's very different. I get to come in and I become for lack of a better term and I think that pretty much all of the families I've ever worked with would say I become a family member. I sit around the bed with you guys and we're looking at photos and I know the ins and outs and I know the stories and I hear the secrets and I get all the stuff and I get to spend time with each family member individually and provide support where needed. So I hope that answers some of the overall logistical questions of the things that I do. I'm helping navigate the medical system, hooking people up with resources, making sure that advanced care directives are done and filled out and filed appropriately and that wills are done. You know, and these are the estate attorneys in my area that I've worked with in the past and that I know are good and that I trust, and these are the notaries that I have in my back pocket that can come to the house or the hospital room to provide what's needed if we don't have that paperwork done. New Mexico is a state where death with dignity, medical aid and dying is legal, and I have volunteered with a hospice where that's part of what they practice and worked with those patients and, for example, I tell people in that scenario who have the time and space to plan their deaths right, they're setting a day in time to think of me as, like an event planner, I can handle all of the background logistics so that family can be family, they can be present, family doesn't have to worry about calling the mortuary, figuring out all of the logistical things that happened in the background. And so I had a woman last October that was an ALS patient. She was only 57, but she was at the point where she was forced with choosing to either have a trach placed, you know, so she could continue to breathe, or suffocating, and so she chose medical aid and dying. And we went through this whole planning process and asking her what she wanted specifically, and her favorite flowers were daffodils. I can't get daffodils in October, so instead I put together favor bags, basically of daffodil bulbs with a poem and a photo of her on the front and planting instructions talking about how, as she's laid to rest, put these into the ground and when they pop up next spring it's time to focus on hope and rebirth and shift our morning process and all of that. And so now, literally every spring, these daffodil bulbs will pop up as a way for her family to remember and honor her. Those things wouldn't have happened in the background, because family's too focused on the sadness and awfulness of losing their loved one, so they don't think about the things that they're going to want later or that they could have later. You know, and I also come in and we create ritual and ceremony surrounding this time. I was called to the bedside of a man in the ICU several months ago. Family was left in the position of choosing to withdraw life support and we did an anointing ritual with some essential oils, replace oils on different body parts and say kind of a prayer of gratitude for that body part. And so I was away for the wife and the mother to get to kind of say goodbye to his physical body. When they pulled the tube out, we lit a candle and when he died the wife blew out the candle and I presented her with the candle saying Thanksgiving light is candle. Make a ritual of it with family. When you need to feel him close, light is candle and call him in. And so it's recognizing that we can bring sacredness and ceremony and beauty to any space, no matter how medicalized, no matter how close we are to the end. We can shift that for the family and I think it really changes our grief process.

Matt: I think people should do that they should hire you.

Billy:  I was just listening to it because it's really incredible how you normalize death in a way that feels almost inviting and comfortable, which I don't think our words that we use to talk about death yeah, we just don't use words like inviting and comfortable and I feel like the way that you, you know just that idea of being the death event organizer. Like my eyes lit up when you said that and I think that's really incredible.

Danielle:  So it's interesting, I haven't been emotional this whole time, right, until you just said inviting and this, because someone recently asked me what it was like in my near death experience and how I think of that and the other side, if you will, and the only word I have is home. And so, yeah, it is inviting, it's a going, it's a coming home. And so to say that we're normalizing it, it's just no, we've abnormalized it. It's as normal as birth. We like to think and pretend and act like we're outside of the circle right, we're outside of the circle of life, we're outside of nature. We somehow have dominion over it because we have opposable thumbs and it doesn't work that way, right, like we're not only part of it, we're a beautiful part of it and a necessary part of it. And so is death. Without death, we don't have life, we don't have birth. I want people to feel that way, and I want people to feel like it's equally a celebration and a morning at the same time.

Matt: One thing that I'll say. In the last week of my father's life I leaned very heavily in just a few conversations. We have a friend named Mike Gleason who is a hospice nurse. He's talked about how that is just a really difficult but just beautifully rewarding job. I leaned heavily on him because the communication that you get is often like well, here's a pamphlet about what the last week is like and the moments before and when you can expect, when the rattle starts to happen in their chest and when their eyes start to glass over and they start to having large movements and shaking and they're literally hours to days before death. And that's not a normal conversation. No one talks about that, but you read it in a pamphlet. The last day or two of your loved one's life I was so glad that I had Mike there and he was like what drugs do they have him on? What are his current symptoms? Well, here's where he's at right now. This is what the amount of time you have in it was like. The last conversation I had with him prior to my dad's death was like hey, if you've got anything to say, you better say it. I was just really glad that I had that resource, but I feel like a lot of people don't. I think you do super important work and I think that's great.

Danielle:  Thank you, yeah, to speak to what exactly what you just said? So the most recent death that I was present for was a very physically challenging death. This woman had aspirated, and so her breathing was very audible, and it was really hard to watch as she was scared, family was scared, and yet I was very fortunate that the nurse practitioner and nurse were there as well, and so they handled all the medical stuff and I got to explain what was happening. I got to coach the dying woman herself, again, just like birth, right In her ear. Where can you find a little bit more space? Can you drop your shoulders away from your ears a little more? Find a little bit more space between your ribs? Drop your breath a little lower in your belly, just like birth. And then go to the wife and, okay, now you notice how she's turning white around her mouth. That's because her oxygen level is dropping a little bit lower, and so the next thing we're probably going to see is maybe some modeling, meaning she'll look a little splotchy. Very much normalizing these things like this is what happens, and it's okay that it happens and it's okay that it's scary, it's okay that we're not familiar with it, but that doesn't make it bad or wrong, explaining why her breathing is loud and what that means and what we can do about it, but also recognizing that right labor is the same way. It's not pretty, it's not quiet, it's not clean, and we have this idea of what death should be because we've watched movies and it doesn't work that way, and very often now because it happens behind closed doors and it happens in hospitals. We haven't seen people die except for movies. You go back a hundred years and grandma died at home in her bed. You later out on the parlor. After the body was washed by family members, she sat out for a day or two, family dug her grave and later to rest. Each one of those moments offers space for conversation, space for acceptance, space for so many different parts of everything that's just missing from what we have now. And so bringing those opportunities to people, asking them hey, do you want me and your family to wash your body and redress you before the mortuary comes? People are kind of like you can do that. Yeah, we can do that, we can put in whatever you want. And so we do that often, and even family that at first is like, oh, that's scary, I don't want to do that, then at least one family member usually says yes and then, before you know it, everybody's joining in and everybody's surrounding the body and surrounding the bed. And I do things too, like, once a person, the body is picked up either by the mortuary or by the transporters in the hospital, taking a moment to straighten up and remake the bed and now turn the bed into an altar like a memorial, place flowers and photos and objects. And if every family member can stand around the bed and place their photo and talk about that memory, or place an object and talk about that memory, we bring the memorial to the death space. And now that bed isn't just a scary, terrible thing that the family has to look at in the days waiting for HME to come pick it up. So it is normalizing, but it's something to me that is extremely normal and it's the most rewarding, most humbling thing I've ever done. I mean far and away more than nursing ever was.

Matt:  I think it's interesting that you keep making the comparison to birth and how it is messy in both instances, but I think also in both instances it's in its own way very beautiful. There's great beauty in the end of life. Even as hard and as messy as it is, it is a celebration of a life well lived.

Billy:  Yes, absolutely Well, matt. I had a conversation with Danielle and we have arranged for you and your family to sit and have a session with Danielle, so your entire family can have this conversation with them as well, because I imagine they are feeling many of the same emotions and we want to make sure that they have an opportunity to celebrate your dad's life like we got to do here today. So, danielle, thank you so much for donating that time to Matt's family. Thank you for sharing your time with us today. And, matt Hazard, thank you for sharing your dad's life with us in this episode, and I love you. Love you too, buddy.

Danielle:  Oh, thank you both so much.

Billy:  So those of you out there listening, yeah, we went a little bit long in this episode, but felt like it was an important conversation to have and, as difficult as it is, talking about death, as Danielle has said, is an act of love and it's a way to connect with our own humanity and the humanity of others. By facing our mortality head on, we can live more purposefully and foster deeper connections with the people we care about, and we hope you found today's discussion on the importance of talking about death both enlightening and inspiring, and we just want you to remember that by embracing this topic, we can lead richer and more meaningful lives. If you'd like to have this conversation with Danielle yourself, please be sure to look in the show notes for all of Danielle's contact information. Once again, danielle, we really want to thank you for joining us today.

Danielle:  Yeah thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you for sharing your father with us.

Billy:  If this episode resonated with you in some way, please do me a favor and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. I would also greatly appreciate it if you would share this episode with the people in your life who may find value in it. Remember that the purpose of this show is to help you navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half, and I hope this free and useful information provides some insight that will guide you towards living with more purpose and passion in your life. So for Danielle, for Matt…

Matt: And for Dan.

Billy:  This is Billy. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy and loved. 

Take care, friends.