Death Q & A II

Tom Nickel
7 min readMay 7, 2020

At the end of our first Death Q & A Event, which was full of questions and discussion, we had already gone over the scheduled time, not that it matters. We could have kept talking for hours but I said, let’s stop now. I don’t want this to be a special event. I want it to be normal. Let’s assume we can just do this again next week and the week after. OK?

A few heart emojis went up so that’s what we did.

Now we’ve done it again. Held another event called Death Q & A.

Some people came back. Some new people came. They can’t say I wasn’t clear about what we’d be doing.

Death is not a taboo topic any more but that doesn’t make it comfortable to talk about. We only get comfortable by doing it. That’s why we’re having Death Q & A and why we’re going to keep having it, to make a specific time and space where people can talk about dying.

I actually don’t have answers to most questions, but I like talking about them and so does my co-host Ryan Astheimer. I’ve taught courses and led end of life workshops for counselors and psychologists, religious education groups and high school students. I have the direct experience of cancer and chemo and years of hospice volunteering.

Ryan is younger than I am and he managed to figure some things out a lot quicker than me, with the help of Buddhism and other traditions. He brings a more informed spiritual perspective to our Death Q & A.

Using a little Buddhist language fits with the setting we use, a Tibetan Buddhist Temple in the mountains. In VR, we can use the world that supports the event and I believe the Temple is part of making it feel OK to talk about things not usually talked about.

That’s why the very first question was unexpected.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ our Lord and Eternal Life through him?

That was the first question of the day.

I said, I’m not completely sure on that one way or the other. How about you?

She said she believes life is a gift from God and she is very thankful.

I said we sure agree on that because I see my life as a gift too and I try to show my gratitude by doing what I can to help other people, which is close to what Jesus said I…

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Tom Nickel

Learning Technologist focusing on VR, Video, and Mortality … producer of Less Than One Minute and 360 degree videos