Wilmington Hospice advocate launches new podcast, ‘Death by Design’, to help normalize discussions about end of life

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‘Death by Design’ host Kimberly Paul with the elephant in the room. (Courtesy of Kimberly Paul)

WILMINGTON — Longtime hospice and end-of-life advocate Kimberly C. Paul has launched a new podcast to help normalize conversations about death, dying and end of life.

In “Death by Design,” available online at www.deathbydesign.com, Paul, a Wilmington resident, talks to people from around the world about their personal death experiences and the life-affirming benefits of connecting with those we love.

“In nearly 20 years working in hospice, I learned more from people facing end of life than I ever thought I would,” Paul said. “Many people at end of life aren’t afraid to talk about dying, but most importantly, they want to talk about the beauty of life and how life’s trials and tribulations inspire them to make the most of every moment they have left.”

A lifelong storyteller whose career includes stints with “Saturday Night Live” and CBS daytime television, Paul said those end-of-life experiences motivated her to create the “Death by Design” podcast, which she is also working on turning into a book.

“For most, dying wasn’t all about the end. It was about living well, making the most of every moment, and connecting with those they love,” she said. “Death by Design was created to honor all the lessons I learned through my daily journey experiencing death – and celebrations of life – in hospice care.”

In Episode 1, Paul speaks with Dr. Ira Byock, a leading palliative care physician, author and advocate for improving end-of-life care. Byock authored, “Dying Well,” “The Four Things that Matter Most,” and “The Best Possible Care.”

Kimbelry and Ira Byock Podcast
Host Kimberly with guest Dr. Ira Byock. (Courtesy: Kimberly Paul)

Paul said she and and Byock have a similar goal: to discover how people can die well in the same American healthcare system under which we all live.

Episode 2 features an in-depth chat with Garth Callaghan, a father who has been diagnosed with cancer four times. Uncertain of how many days he has to live, Callaghan begin writing notes on napkins to his young daughter Emma. He now has more than 800 napkin notes for Emma. He wants her to have a message in her lunch every day until she graduates from high school. Together, Paul and Callaghan talk about how living with a serious illness opens your eyes to what matters most in life.

The most recent episode is with Barbara Karnes, end-of-life educator, nurse and author who wrote, “Gone from my Sight,” a little blue book often read by hospice families.

Paul, a featured speaker at TedxAirlie with her inspired speech “Who’s That?” has more than 30 podcasts already lined up. A new podcast launches on DeathbyDesign.com every Thursday at 8 a.m. The podcast is free, and the website offers several ways to subscribe including email, iTunes, RSS, and more.

Behind the Ted X Curtain
Kimberly Paul behind the Ted X Curtain. (Courtesy of Kimberly Paul)

Paul is also looking for guests who want to share their experiences about how facing death or serious illness has inspired them to make the most of each day and embrace life. To find out more, visit www.deathbydesign.com.

The Death by Design website, home of the podcast and other end-of-life resources, follows Paul’s nearly 20 years in leadership roles for Lower Cape Fear Hospice, the largest and only nonprofit hospice that serves southeastern North Carolina. She hopes the website, future book, and podcast will inspire everyone to create a blueprint for the inevitable end-of-life journey that reflects the beauty of life and the positive destination at the end.

For more information, visit www.deathbydesign.com.

-Content provided by Kimberly Paul

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