Episode 53: So Many Decisions Around Death! Get Practical and Organized With Cianna Stewart

Jun 21, 2022 | Podcast Episode

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Dying is a fact of life. While emotional, there are certain logistics and practicalities that have to be dealt with: cremation versus burial, financial obligations, physical belongings, and the list goes on. This week, I’m joined by Cianna Stewart who also has a podcast on death and grief. Cianna hosts Dying Kindness, a podcast for people who are going to die someday (hint: that’s you and me, both) with the goal of helping people make key decisions now in order to be more kind to those they’ll leave behind.

Death has always been part of Cianna’s conversation and experience. When she was only 15 years old, she lost her mom. This loss was amplified and reinforced by working in HIV prevention and awareness during the 1990s in San Francisco. During this period, she experienced the death and memorialization of many friends, and became the primary caretaker for her roommate who died from AIDS. After Cianna’s father and stepmother died in 2019, she resolved to get her own paperwork and other affairs in order so that she wouldn’t leave behind the same kind of disorganized mess she and her siblings were left with. To support that effort, she started a group on Facebook and The Dying Kindness podcast then emerged as an effort to encourage others to join in on making key decisions now, well before they’re needed. Cianna has been a writer, documentarian, speaker, coach, event producer, startup founder, nonprofit manager, consultant, workshop leader, and more.

Episode Highlights:

  • Cianna’s experience and relationship with grief and losing both parents
  • Working in HIV prevention and losing her roommate and dear friend to AIDS
  • Recognizing our own fears and putting ourselves in others shoes
  • Resources for assistance when it comes to logistics surrounding death
  • Emotional grief versus practical grief and managing both
  • The death binder: a collection for decisions and documents you need when someone dies (and someone will need when you die)
  • Shifting the conversation around death and making decisions that will help those still living when we pass on
  • Advance directives, powers of attorney, dependents, and wills/trusts

Mentioned in the episode:
The Grieving Brain: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss by Mary-Frances O’Connor
Cianna’s curated selection of books
Neptune Society

Connect with Cianna:
Dying Kindness Podcast
Dying Kindness Facebook Group
No Complaints: How to Stop Sabotaging Your Own Joy by Cianna P Stewart


All The Skies

There’s no magic pill that can take away the pain of grief
But there are some pretty, little things that can help