This documentary introduces us to Stephen Jenkinson, once the leader of a palliative care counselling team at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital. Through his daytime job, he has been at the deathbed of well over 1,000 people. What he sees over and over, he says, is "a wretched anxiety and an existential terror" even when there is no pain. Indicting the practice of palliative care itself, he has made it his life's mission to change the way we die - to turn the act of dying from denial and resistance into an essential part of life.
Ages 16 to 17
Ethics and Religious Culture - Religious Diversity/Heritage
Family Studies/Home Economics - Aging/Death and Dying
Indigenous Studies - Identity/Society
Before viewing the film, have a discussion with students on their beliefs about death, dying, and the after-life, reflecting on how our religious views affect our beliefs. Post viewing: Suggest reasons why Steve Wilkinson has such unique convictions. Where do his ideas come from? As a group, discuss what Wilkinson means when he says “death makes us into human beings.” Comment on and identify the many examples of symbolism that director Tim Wilson uses in his film. What purpose does the symbolism serve?