Movie Screening: “Speaking of Dying”


Speaking of Dying is a documentary film that premiered on April 16 in Seattle. It features current end-of-life challenges and resources. Told through the words and stories of local physicians, caregivers, family members, and patients, Speaking of Dying depicts the range of end-of-life choices available to all of us. With compelling stories and beautiful images, the film inspires and motivates viewers to learn about their options and express their final wishes to an agent and to their medical providers long before there is a crisis. Viewers will be surprised and moved by the quality of life and love that can result from making the choice to plan well ahead of time. “Our hope is that by watching this film, viewers will be empowered to do their own advance care directive planning, and to have conversations about their choices with loved ones and medical providers,” said Trudy James, the film’s Executive Producer. Trudy is an interfaith chaplain who graduated from the University of Kansas and Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She was founder and director of an AIDS CareTeam program in Arkansas from 1989 to 1997 which served over 500 men and women with HIV/AIDS.  In 1993, she was recognized by President Clinton at the White House for her pioneering work with AIDS patients. In 1997 she founded a second CareTeam program in Seattle; she also served as a chaplain at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. In 2008 she founded Heartwork, an organization designed to help people live a fulfilling, meaningful life, and prepare for a peaceful and meaningful death. She created community-based, end-of-life planning sessions called “A Gift for Yourself and Your Loved Ones” which she facilitated in churches, senior centers, and retirement communities. The film Speaking of Dying grew out of her experience with sixty of those groups serving more than 600 participants. She is grateful to documentary filmmaker, Jennifer Jones, and editor, Catherine Wadley, and to all those who participated in the creation of the film. She is now training more facilitators to lead end-of-life planning in groups. Trudy believes that everyone has the  right to a peaceful and meaningful death.

Read more in an article featured in AARP The Magazine.