Making Friends With Death with Jane Hughes Gignoux

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Why do we die? What will happen after I die? How do I deal with my grief over someone else's death? These are difficult but universal questions. Death cannot be avoided. Indeed, each of us will be successful in achieving it, yet it remains an enormous mystery. We may want to turn away from it, not talk about it, and pretend it does not walk among us. Jane Hughes Gignoux points out, "We have whole industries designed to pretend that we are never going to die. They promise us we are never going to get old. We have lots of choices: where we live, what we do, who our friends are. But, we have no choice as to whether or not we are going to die. It is a bizarre obsession pretending that we are not going to die." How will making friends with death inform our lives? Gignoux invites us to see into this great mystery as we relate to a friend. She has assembled together stories that people have been telling one another over many centuries about the mysteries of life, death and beyond. (Hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Gignoux is a counselor in stress management and play therapist with the HIV pediatric patients at Harlem Hospital in New York City.

She is the author of:

  • Some Folk Say: Stories of Life, Death and Beyond (FoulkeTale Publishing 1998)

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How will making friends with death inform your life
  • Why competition is sometimes a distraction
  • What is a magnificent death and how does it inform our lives
  • How to prepare our loved ones for our own death
  • How to face the loss of a child
  • What is the hospice movement
  • Death and dying workshops for prison inmates
Host: Justine Willis Toms      Interview Date: 3/17/2003      Program Number: 2979