I shall be leading several classes with The Osher Lifelong Learning
Institute (OLLI) at The University of Arizona,
Pima County, Tucson
Adult Learning Adventures, and Pima Community College.
are brief descriptions of the classes presently scheduled, and of course I'd be glad to answer any questions you may have.
I hope you and those you know may
plan to attend. By all means, bring a friend!
also teach "Advocacy Training" though Final Exit Network
-- this is a greatly expanded version of "What Nobody
Ever Told You About Advance Directives" and includes a 28-minute video demonstration, role playing, and
numerous handouts with valuable information. Please contact me for details.
comments from previous participants:
This is from a 1-hour workshop I did about Advance Directives, called "How to Get the
Death You Want" for FCA at their recent national conference:
"I was privileged to attend a recent workshop by John Abraham on the critical
importance of Advance Directives and was floored at how much I didn’t know! I think, like most Americans, I simply assumed
that if the documents were properly executed, everything else would fall into place. Not so, according to John. He walked
us through the A to Z’s of ensuring that the final wishes of those we love (and ours, too!) are honored. His presentation
was organized, interesting and invaluable. His humor punched it up a notch which made dealing with the subject matter more
palatable. Additionally, his handouts are keepers, not only for handy reference but also to pass on to friends and relatives
who need to know. For me, an avid reader, the highlight was the list of “must-read” books that John recommended.
I have already purchased the Kindle edition of each one and can’t wait to dig in and broaden my knowledge base even
more. Whether an in-person presentation, an online video or a book he’s written, I just highly recommend John. He’s
one of those who speaks from on-hands experience as opposed to someone who relies on research for his information. It’s
easy to trust his advice and he offers a ton of it!!!" – Mindy Moore, Beloit, WI June/2014
"All in all, great seminar."
"Thanks again for the Advocate training
yesterday. The role playing was very helpful and definitely thought provoking. It was interesting to hear all of the
comments from the participants and see how complicated things can get."
"Thank you, John, for offering such an informative training and giving us many useful tools and resources to work with.
I feel your knowledge, passion and experience have helped empower us to step forward as advocates for a dignified death. Knowledge
is power as is trusting our own authority. This training was particularly timely as I leave for San Diego tomorrow to be with
my sister who's battling pancreatic cancer. I feel I can better help her and my family navigate the treacherous medical waters."
"Since November, 2013, my wife and I have become members of the Final Exit Network and I have attended two lectures and
the Advocacy/Surrogate training. This is in large part to you…your passion, compassion, and acceptance of all those
who come to you for guidance, support, or training. I am impressed with your approach to meet one where you find him or her,
whether they be distressed, dying, religious, agnostic, fearful, or curious. Your advocacy for those in need of support during
one of the most important times of life is most impressive. You're a fantastic non-judgmental role model for those who want
to assist friends and family to accept the inevitable. You have taught me that the process of dying can be every bit as beautiful
and loving as the other major life events we experience, like birth, graduation, marriage, etc. Thank you.
"John, I'm grateful for the specificity of the information you provided as I feel infinitely more confident that I can
provide thorough directives. I also feel more confident to pick an advocate, possibly even to agree to be someone's
advocate, though I want to think further about that.
Your statement that I/anyone can always say no is an invaluable
headline or summary.
Thank you for a useful and engaging program."
"I thought the training was great....John Abraham's Patient Advocate training was excellent.
The role playing video put it all together for me explaining how caring loved ones who have various relationships with the
patient may interact with each other - for better or worse. These dynamics are important to consider when serving as a patient
advocate for a friend, a loved one, or volunteering with someone whom you know very little. After taking John's training
I feel much more comfortable about being a patient advocate."
was good to learn about protocol and the legalities involved in advocacy for others. And becoming proficient in advocating
for others helps to clarify (and reinforce) my personal concepts regarding my own eventual exiting procedure."
you John A for an excellent presentation Friday on helping people to understand the need for an Advocate and what it entails
to be an advocate. I am amazed and appreciate the breadth and depth of your knowledge in this death arena. Tim
and I both found your presenting style to be both casual and comfortable while at the same time being very professional."
"Advocates' Training Was Excellent! Thanks so much, John, you gave us a lot of very helpful information! The course
helped me clarify some areas for personal decision making, and I feel reasonably prepared to serve as an advocate for someone
in the future. There is a lot involved, at least it appears there can be, according to the role playing scenarios! It's
good to know there are resource people, you, for example, who willingly give carefully considered, practical, information
on a subject that is not well understood in our culture."
"We found your training session most helpful as well
as the handout of references... While I have been working on this subject for the past 10+ years... Meeting and talking with
others who are like minded is supportive and your vast knowledge of the subject makes listening to you extremely worthwhile."
"Becoming proficient in advocating for others, helps to clarify (and reinforce) my personal concepts regarding
my own eventual death."
Other classes are:
OLLI: Death: Certain yet Unknown
Doing virtually the same class on (Yet to be determined --
probably Spring 2017)
Downtown Campus: 220 W. 6th Street.
Call 520-626-9039 to register.
Some topics covered include:
The Last Civil Right: Right to Die.
The meaning and nuances of bereavement, mourning, and grief.
The 5 tasks of healthy mourning; and how to know
when one is getting better.
Resources and strategies available to assist you and the dying person near the end of life.
What is a Good Death?
How to find an affordable, meaningful, ethical funeral.
Learning to live with loss.
Most of us (about 80%) will die a managed death, and the appalling fact is that 70% to 80% of the time, one's wishes for
end of life care will not be followed. This class will equip one with knowledge about how to make sure one's wishes are honored.
Thanatology: coping with death and dying.
Instructor John Abraham, M.Div., F.T. (Episcopal Priest and Thanatologist)
Course 401: Someone you love is dying.
Resources and strategies available to
assist you and the dying person near the end of life, including the following: "do's and don'ts" of communicating
with someone dying; guidelines for saying goodbye; exploring the need of a dying person and how you can help. While it is
best to let the dying person take the lead somewhat in communicating, this is not always simple and recognizing that every
situation is a little different can help one adjust to the reality of impending death, realizing the importance of listening
for verbal cues and being sensitive while balancing this empathy with your own need for self-expression.
402: Living with Loss.
This goes well beyond the common grief
group, understanding the meaning and nuances of bereavement, mourning, and grief. One will learn what to expect when confronted
with the death of someone dear; which feelings are legitimate or not; the 5 tasks of healthy mourning; and how to know when
one is getting better.
Course 403: The Benefits (or Positive Aspects) of Death
Yes, believe it or not death can be positive. Of course death can be unsettling, troubling, unpleasant, inconvenient, ugly,
frightening and otherwise disturbing, but it can be regarded as helpful in ways such as giving meaning to life, serving as
a reminder of our common human condition, being a motivator, and helping in at least seven more ways.
404: What is a Good Death?
I sometimes call this "the
least worst death" since no one wants to die or have those they love die. Too often, medical care is confused with love.
They're not the same. Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone you love is to stop the medical care. Only about 1/3
of those in palliative care achieve a "good death" as defined by about 12 components.
How a Memorial Society Works (All about Funeral Consumers Alliance)
What used to be called Memorial Societies for the most part have now become chapters of Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA)
which is a federation of local organizations. FCA is the only 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting a consumer's
right to choose a meaningful, dignified, affordable funeral, offering education and advocacy to consumers nationwide and not
affiliated with the funeral industry.
Course 406: How to Deal with Death
The focus here is understanding the many aspects of numerous occurrences when a death happens. Is one's response appropriate,
crazy, or perhaps clouded by fear, misinformation or other issues?
Course 407: Death
as a Natural Part of Life
It is my conviction that death is a perfectly natural, rational,
normal, important, andinextricably entwined part of life. I postulate that, more so than others, the death educated person:
Acts to attain his/her life's priorities and values, and consequently improves health in a self-actualizing sense; Communicates
more effectively, honestly and openly on intimate matters with loved ones and with meaningful others; Relinquishes control
more easily, resulting in a more satisfying, appropriate death while death educated survivors manifest a healthier bereavement;
Is likely to espouse alternatives to conflict-resolution other than violence, war and related forms of species-specific deadly
aggression; Recognizes, values, and supports those aspects of society which will promote the health of children, the aged,
and other vulnerable groups; Acts to effect significant positive, healthy social-environmental changes; May read and discourse
upon death rationally, lessening anxiety; Promotes comfortable and intelligent interaction with the dying as human beings
that are indeed living until they are dead; Grows with a minimum of death-related anxieties which are too often based upon
irrationality and myth rather than fact; Develops a personal eschatology by specifying the relationship between life and death;
Understands the dynamics of grief and mourning and the reactions of differing age groups to the death of a "significant
other"; Understands the role of those involved in the death system and the assets and liabilities of that system; Is
more savvy about the commercial death market; Recognizes the variations involved in aspects of death both within and between
cultures; Knows the false idols and mythology existing in the growing field of death study, the salient heuristic questions,
and the great need for learning more; Cultivates a more realistic comprehension of the consequences of such behaviors as drunk
driving, consuming drugs, and more; Appreciates the meaning of and understands the infrequency of school shootings and other
mass murders so prevalent in the media; and Has a greater appreciation for LIFE!
Course 408: The
Last Civil Right: Right to Die
There are currently three organizations in the USA promoting
the right to die (while not encouraging anyone to end their life): Final Exit Network (FEN); Compassion and Choices (C&C);
and Death with Dignity National Center, all of which hold that mentally competent adults have a basic human right to end their
lives under the following conditions: they suffer from a fatal or irreversible illness or intractable pain, they judge that
their quality of life is unacceptable to them, they judge that their future is hopeless. Additionally, there are 45 member
organizations, as of March 2012, representing 25 countries of The World Federation of Right to Die Societies and we'll explore
the origins of these organizations as well as arguments on both sides of this controversial issue which is supported by 2/3
Course 409: Individual or Group Counseling
Often one can benefit from counseling when trying to cope with the death of a person one loved. There are merits and drawbacks
to various types of counseling, and there are three critical questions for one to ask oneself to determine whether or not
the counseling one has chosen is best for him/her.
Course 410: Jest Death: The
Healing Role of Humor
"Life no more ceases to be humorous in the face of death than
it ceases to be serious in the face of laughter." Fun and insightful, this class is an advocacy of humor in death-related
situations while explaining ten aspects of humor: 1-Raising by Remarking; 2-Lovingly Linked; 3-Raucously Remembered; 4-Truth
Told (you've heard the saying much truth is said in jest); 5-Common Conundrum; 6-Release an Relief, 7-Dodge and Deny; 8-Competing
Complexities and Contradictions; 9-Laughter Liberates; 10-Humor Humbles.
Course 411: What
No One Ever Told You About Advance Directives!
What many of us do not know is that most of
us (about 80%) will die a managed death, and the appalling fact is that 70% to 80% of the time, one's wishes will not be honored,
even with a living will and other properly executed directive documents. This class will equip one with knowledge about how
to make sure one's wishes are honored regarding end-of-life care.
I hope to see
you in class!
Previous Comments from OASIS Evaluations:
"I was much impressed by your apparent strength, integrity, and knowledge."
made this topic knowledgeable, interesting, and with humor."
"John Abraham has the information and the
ability to intelligently convey all we need to know about this complex topic."
"John's class has been
helpful and informative for those of us who want to prepare for a compassionate and graceful exit for ourselves and our loved
"A good balance between general advice and personal reflections was kept."
was flexible, knowledgeable, and responsive to those in class."
"Very responsive to questions and very
well educated and experienced in the topic."
"From someone who already attended two of my classes: I
got a lot of new information -- glad I came."
"I liked the down to earth quality of your presentation,
the slang and humanity that ring a bell for all of us."
"Now I'm movitated to send a message to a friend
whose husband died exactly a month ago, one of your helpful suggestions."
"Thank you John for your well presented class. I enjoyed your pace and the materials you
it is clear that you are very well informed and impassioned about your topics...."
"I just wanted to thank you again for a thought-provoking presentation given with humor and
"You were very
responsive to the questions and concerns of all of us in the audience. I wish you well and may very well call upon you in
Please accept my sincere appreciation for your contribution
to our first effort to present an End of Life Seminar this
Folks shared their thanks with me so pass their words to you.
Your ministry to us on this topic of dying was
so very important
for those that attended...."
"Thanks for a realistic appraisal of death and a
handout that should help discussion about your area of expertise."
"In my opinion, this class was: □outstanding
The vast majority
indicate "□outstanding" with some adding their own category of "very good."