There is a fitness and healthy eating frenzy happening all around us.
Whether you’ve become the person who started the Crossfit or the Orange Theory Fitness trend among your group of friends (my preferred fitness cult of sorts is Lagree –– look it up!), or you just noticed this weekend how hard it is to find a good brunch spot for a group of friends with dietary restrictions ranging from vegan to gluten free and everything in between –– most of us have gotten a lot healthier over the last few years.
But no longer are we frequenting McDonald’s for a quick burger and fries.
Instead, we’re contemplating the newest meatless alternative, and likely having a serious conversation about the health and environmental pros and cons of real meat versus non.
This heavy focus on health and wellbeing over the last few years has given rise to products like the Apple Watch, 23andMe, text-able therapists, dental work you can order online, subscription vitamin companies, and now –– a complete rethinking of how we die, and how we deal with grief.
For the first time ever, The Global Wellness Institute, an organization that monitors and reports out on global wellness trends, announced that Dying Well was a major wellness trend as of 2019. And it doesn’t look like it’s coming off the list for 2020.
But when did this trend / movement really begin?
Well, the Dying Well movement got a big PR push with Death Over Dinner, which began in 2013. The light bulb moment for Michael Hebb, the founder of Death Over Dinner, and his friends and colleagues including Arianna Huffington was that 80% of American want to die at home, and only 20% do.
For Michael, a former restaurateur, he knew this meant we needed to be talking more about death –– and what better place than over dinner?
Today, there have been more than 200,000 Death Over Dinner conversations and events held. And the Dying Well trend torch has been carried on even further by some of the following folks:
With 835,000 subscribers on YouTube, 3 New York Times best-selling books, and having founded The Order of the Good Death, Caitlin Doughty is likely the most visible death industry professional –– ever.
Her credentials speak for herself, but to follow her, read her books, and watch her videos is to get wrapped up in her divine acceptance of death, her humor about the topic (and the weirdo ways we’ve come up with the face it), and more.
Her books, videos, and organizations have helped hundreds of thousands –– and entertained even more.
Megan Devine is best known for her amazing book titled It’s OK That You’re Not OK, which explains how traditional grief support fails to help those in grief, how the culture perceives grief and loss and what needs to change.
She is also the founder of Refuge in Grief, a grief support resource and online community that serves both grieving people and those looking to better support grieving people via free online resources, paid creative courses, and professional training.
Her quotes on grief are some of the most quoted on the internet, and her book is one of the most recommended. She is active on social platforms, working to share her message, and build community around one of the hardest moments and emotions in any of our lives.
Adelle Archer is the co-founder of Eterneva, a memorial diamond company she and her partner started after her close friend and business mentor Tracey passed away. Eterneva was born when Tracey willed some her ashes to Adelle, telling her to do something with them that represented their relationship and what Tracey taught her.
That was in 2017, and since then, Adelle is the only death industry professional to ever be on the cover of a national magazine (Inc’s 30 Under 30 in 2018). She’s also sat and talked with 2 Chainz, been mentioned by the Kardashians, and has even launched the very first memorial diamond lab in Texas –– run by aerospace engineers.
Her goal, and that of Eterneva’s, is to provide a grief-changing journey that encourages folks to talk about the loved one, share stories, create legacy projects, and keep them close.
As a wellness trend sweeps the nation, a dying well and death positive movement and mindset shift is setting in. To be healthy as long as possible includes up until the moment of death. Medical innovations can keep us breathing, but our mental health is what keeps us alive.
These aren’t things most people get in the U.S. when death approaches –– and the survivor’s guilt coupled with the grief loved ones feel after someone passes without having made their wants clear contributes to complicated grief.
It is time for us to step up –– all of us –– and talk about what we want, why it matters, and how we want to remember those who have changed our lives for the better. It’s time to face our own mortality, and that of those we love, so we can be more present now, and better prepared for then.