"Living While Dying" with filmmaker Cathy Zheutlin

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Thu, 09/14/2023 - 11:00am to 11:30am
Poster for "Living While Dying" a film by Cathy Zheutlin
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Filmmaker Cathy Zheutlin

On today's episode, we welcome Cathy Zheutlin, filmmaker and director/writer/producer of the documentary Living While Dying, from Portland’s Peace Films.

Living While Dying was an official selection of the 2018 Portland Film Festival and winner of the Resiliency in Aging Award at the 2018 Third Action Film Festival in Calgary. The film follows four terminally ill people in the last days of their lives. Cathy is our guide as we watch each of them face the end in different ways, coming to terms with their mortality, and finding some peace, even joy, in the journey.

I met Cathy at Cedar Sinai Park in Portland, where she works as the Spiritual Life Coordinator. My dad was a resident, first in assisted living, and then, as his health deteriorated, in the long-term care facility. I was hesitant to talk to my dad about death, which given his condition, could come at any time. Cathy agreed to discuss the topic with him, and that gave great peace of mind to both him and me. He passed away, peacefully in his sleep, last November, at the age of 95.

Cathy's hope is that Living While Dying prompts a conversation on death, especially for our elders and their families. If it does for you, Cathy recommends Holly Pruett's Befriending Mortality classes as a good place to start. 

Cathy's film is also available for viewing now on YouTube.

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