In episode 52 of Shit We Don’t Talk About, Mia is joined by funeral educator Lauren Carroll and death doula Erin Merelli, AKA The Death Wives. The Death Wives is a female-founded collective working to widen the narrative around death and dying. Lauren and Erin teach others about the history and practices of death work and seek to honor sacred traditions, remove stigmas around death, empower collective grieving, and create a safe space for community, connection, and support.

Lauren and Erin found each other when both were on a bit of a quest to find kindred spirits in the world of death planning, education, and the honest discussion of death and planning practices. After testing the waters with a few local seminars, the Death Wives was born out of a clear need in the community.

The Highlights:

Planning for death and making our final wishes known to our friends and family is a far better approach than ignoring death until it happens. Leaving our loved ones to make plans without preparation adds burden and confusion that doesn’t have to exist.

Part of good planning is becoming educated when it comes to options and alternatives. We can’t make well informed death plans without knowing what is available to us. Going to a funeral home, buying a steel or lacquered casket, and doing it the way everyone does it just because we don’t know any better is not required.

The death and funeral business has traditionally been male-dominated and focused more on sales and profit than the human side of death and dying. The Death Wives are focused on changing this, returning the process of death and dying into a community and family-driven process that more closely reflects who we are as humans and residents of a living planet.

Home funerals are still a thing. Embalming and waterproof caskets designed to delay a natural process are not necessarily required. Water cremation is a beautiful, environmentally supportive alternative to burial or fire cremation. There are options available to us that most people are unaware of, and many of them are far closer to truly being family-focused celebrations of life than we’re used to experiencing.

Our pervasive fear of death often prevents us from making healthy and helpful preparations for death. It can keep us from experiencing death in productive ways that are more conducive to the process of grieving and healing.

Death doulas and compassionate, family-focused death workers are fantastic resources to help not only when death is imminent, but long before when we have time to make carefully considered plans where all members of the family and community can participate in planning and preparing in a thoughtful way.

Find The Death Wives Online:




Episode Links:

Be A Tree Cremation – Environmentally friendly water creation
A gentle, water-based cremation alternative. Using 90% less energy and with 10x less C02 emissions*, water cremation is the clear environmental choice*

Recompose – A full‑service funeral home specializing in human composting

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Music Credits:

Inspiring Experience by Rafael Krux


Inspirational Infinity Of Space by WinnieTheMoog