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Mindful Conversations about the End of Life with Martha Jo Atkins


  • University Presbyterian Church 300 Bushnell Avenue San Antonio, TX, 78212 United States (map)

Dates: Three Mondays, Jan. 22, 29, and Feb. 5                                                                 

Time: 7-9 p.m.

Tuition: $75 for all three classes or $25 per class

Enrollment: 10 min./ 25 max.                                                                                           

Register By: Jan. 15

Ninety percent of Americans say it’s important to discuss their own wishes for end-of-life care, but only 30 percent actually do (The Conversation Project, 2013). In this three-week course, we’ll engage in thoughtful conversations about death, dying, and end-of-life care options. You’ll be given tools to think and talk about what matters to you as you consider spiritual, emotional, and physical questions of mortality. Classes may be taken individually or in the series. If you complete the six-hour course, you will be certified to offer this course in your community by Abode Contemplative Care for the Dying.

Week 1: What Does Dying Well Mean to You? You’ve had a myriad of life experiences informing how you think about death and dying. Using guided meditation and mindfulness practices, we’ll consider your beliefs about dying, what happens when we die, and the best end-of-life outcome you can imagine for yourself.

Week 2: Questions and Answers. Through a series of specific and thoughtful prompts, you’ll be invited to consider questions to help you discern what you need and want at end-of-life. Music? Foot massage? Lots of people around or a few? Feeding tube? Answers to these questions and many more will paint a picture of your needs and wants. We’ll also consider forms required in Texas to help ensure your desires are met.

Week 3: Regrets, Forgiveness, and Memories. Talking with friends and family about our end-of-life needs and wants can be a vulnerable as well as meaningful and deepening experience. In this class, you’ll be led through a series of exercises around releasing regrets, opening space for forgiveness (or allowing the space to remain closed), and memory tagging. Examples of ways to share your end-of-life desires with your family will be shared.

Martha Jo Atkins, Ph.D., LPC-S is Executive Director of Abode Contemplative Care for the Dying in San Antonio, Texas, an author, and an end-of-life consultant. Dr. Atkins researches and teaches about the language of dying and is especially interested in pre-death visions and metaphors often wrongly dismissed as nonsense. Founder of the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, Dr. Atkins helps children and adults who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, as well as families and communities who want to support their beloveds at end-of-life.