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May 6, 2013 12:48 PM by Ryan Haarer

Tucson man teaches students how to prepare for death

TUCSON - For thanatologist John Abraham teaching classes about dying makes life worth living.

"I think the death educated person deals better with loss, with bereavement, knows how to talk with somebody that is dying, has basically a better appreciation for life," said, Abraham.

His students find is class to be insightful, making them think about their own mortality.

"Deciding you know, is this the way I want to spend the rest of my life? It has been a good guide for me to look at the end of my life as teaching me how to live now," said former student, J'Fleur Lohman.

Some popular class topics deal with advanced directives or getting a good death. That's a death that has all the necessary details like a will and medical and funeral expenses well spelled out.

"The part that nobody tells you is even if you have a will and various other documents, most of the time those wishes are not honored. 70-80 percent of the time," claims Abraham.

He says it's important to have an advocate in your corner when you're on your deathbed, someone who understands what you want or don't want for your final days and after you've passed.

Going through his classes doesn't make you immune to feeling sorrow amidst death... but acceptance is a passing grade in a course designed to help you cope with the inevitable.

"i've been trying to learn to deal with death in a way that's not completely tragic. It is inevitable and there are many cultures that celebrate death and I think there is a part of death that really is wonderful," said student, Warren Demming.

Pima County is offering some of John's courses. You can find the registration here. http://www.pima.gov/nrpr/classes/index.htm

For more information on John, visit his website: www.DeathAndDyingHelp.com.

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