Excerpts from A Matter of Life and Death

MITCHELL WILLOUGHBY – Death Row inmate: Tennessee, USA

Having been on ‘death row’ for over 30 years, I have had to deal with major issues of anger, self-worth and forgiveness. I can truthfully say that my Buddhist practice has transformed me from being a drug and alcohol addict to being more human. I have had to learn to accept my fate.

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MOLLY CARLILE – Death talker, palliative care activist: Australia

I have spent the bulk of my career working with dying and grieving people, teaching others how to sit in personal discomfort in order to support them. Through this, I have an enormous collection of stories, poetry and songs that relate to mortality and the meaning of life. I believe that the arts provide a vehicle for people to speak the ‘unspeakable’ and express the ‘in-expressible.’

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JOSEFINE SPEYER – Psychotherapist; death education specialist; co-founder: Natural Death Centre, UK

I believe we should be making friends with death and embracing death as part of life, as all the great religions try to teach us. To lead a good and meaningful life we need to remember that we are mortal. This is my daily practice and it helps me to appreciate all aspects of my life: my health, family, friends, the people I work with, as well as nature, animals and the environment. Life is so fragile and we are all here for such a brief period of time.

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