Graphic Medicine doesn’t always take the form of a book: sometimes it can be a collaboration. This is the case for the Visualizing End of Life Issues group (VEOLI).
This international group of graphic recorders, artists, facilitators, death doulas, grief specialists, and authors have practiced listening to people describe their end-of-life thinking and, in real-time, capture these thoughts by making drawings and using words.
Members of VEOLI have devoted over a year to creating and fine-tuning a process for leading people through a journey to capture their thoughts and feelings about their dying and death. Undertaking the very personal experience of where a person wants to be, who with, and in what environment is best done before death is imminent, in middle age for example. People who have had their Advance Care Plan drawn by VEOLI members say it is an easier way to introduce the topic of planning for one’s some-day, one-day death with family and friends who may be reluctant to discuss the details or even acknowledge the possibility.
“Not everyone wants to have conversations . . . about their imagined death scene; I felt a little anxious at the thought and couldn’t even say what I wanted my last days/hours on earth to be like. Once I settled into the conversation though, I quickly started to identify things that were important to me. The graphic portrayal produced of my death vigil was amazing. Somehow the drawing made death a bit more approachable-—even friendlier. I feel more peaceful about death.”
Dr. Deborah McLeod, RN
Services offered by VEOLI members are:
- Memorial Visuals: A visual summary of fond memories that are shared about a loved one and celebrate the person who has died. These preserve the stories and memories shared while allowing grieving friends and family to honor their loved ones.
- Legacy Story Maps: A visual summary created to depict a person’s life story or legacy. It can be a meaningful and cathartic process for an individual to review and reflect on their life and important people, moments, events, and accomplishments.
- Advance Care Planning: A one-page visual summary to help communicate end-of-life wishes so family members and care teams know how to support individuals at this time.
Visit the VEOLI website, (www.veoli.net) to discover more about the breadth and depth of our work, history, vision, mission, values, and resources.
New members are welcome! VEOLI meets every month via Zoom to “learn out loud.” We explore books and articles about the dying process and discuss relevant topics and ideas. It’s engaging and stimulating.
To join our group, contact us here https://www.veoli.net/contact.