The Movement Encouraging a Healthy Approach The Movement Encouraging a Healthy Approach to Dyingto Dying

Everyone’s going to die. We all know it, and most of us spend as much of our life as possible avoiding thinking about it. Even when we do deal with the death of a loved one, many of the routines and traditions around death in our culture are based on not facing its realities.

People spend lots of money so that their deceased loved ones can be made to look alive during viewings. The idea of facing a dead body in its natural form is often associated with terror and disgust in our culture.

A movement is brewing in the US devoted to giving people a new view on death – one that’s based on treating it as a natural part of life.

The Order of the Good Death

The Order of the Good Death is a community of people devoted to helping others broaden their views of what death means. The movement is headed by Caitlin Doughty, a mortician that runs an alternative funeral home in Los Angeles.

The organization’s mission, according to the website, is about “making death a part of your life…staring down your death fears- whether it be your own death, the death of those you love, the pain of dying, the afterlife (or lack thereof), grief, corpses, bodily decomposition, or all of the above.  Accepting that death itself is natural, but the death anxiety and terror of modern culture are not.”

It may sound macabre to you, but that’s only because we come from a culture that treats death as something macabre. The Order of the Good Death seeks to change that.

What the Order of the Good Death Does

In practice, the Order of the Good Death spreads their message in a few key ways.

They provide education on death and historical and cultural rituals associated with it.

Through both the website’s blog and the playful videos Doughty shares on various topics, The Order of the Good Death educates followers on death-related topics ranging from death rituals throughout history, current options for dealing with a body after death, and jobs in the death industry.

They help people to understand their options when they or a loved one pass.

Many families go through the motions common in our culture each time a loved one dies because they feel like it’s the way death is supposed to be handled. The Order of the Good Death wants to let people know they have other options.

Have you ever questioned why bodies in the US are routinely embalmed? You may think it has to do with health hazards, but really it’s not necessary. It’s a costly procedure people have done simply because it’s custom to do so.

The Order of the Good Death is raising awareness of alternative options, like natural burial, cremation, and home funerals. These options cost less and provide families with a more personal, intimate method of honoring their dead.

Encourages a more “death positive” approach to that inevitable part of life most of us dread thinking about.

Death doesn’t have to be seen as a bad thing. Mourning and loss are necessarily part of the process, and the Order of the Good Death in no way seeks to discount that aspect of it, but they do seek to remove some of the stigma and discomfort that surrounds how we view death. They insist that we can respectfully honor our loss without seeing the process as something creepy or distasteful.


Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and lifelong student with an ongoing curiousity to learn and explore new things. She turns that interest to researching and exploring subjects helpful to seniors and their families for

1 Comment

  1. Terry January 24, 2017 Reply

    I totally agree with this “new?” idea of death. I for one, in our present day and age do not want to prolong the inevitable. Today, a lot of Dr.’s are trying to get it through the family’s heads to ” let the loved one pass in peace ” instead of trying to keep them alive just to see or hear them. It is not the dying that want to prolong life – it is the family in most if not all cases. The dying, people and pets etc. ,stay with us in pictures and other memorabilia, and in the very essence of what we have become! so they NEVER leave us – especially if we live right!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Our expert Senior Living Advisors are here to help.

Learn about your care options, local communities, pricing and more, with our free services. Complete the form below to receive a call.

First & Last Name

Email Address

Phone Number

By clicking Submit, you agree to our Terms of Use. You also consent to receive calls and texts, which may be autodialed, from us and our customer communities. Your consent is not a condition to using our service. Please visit our Privacy Policy for information about our privacy practices.