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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Petty

Ep. 071 | Death Demystified

The Undertaker Takes Us to School, with Jamie Sarche


“...So fire cremation, we really think, okay, somebody dies and, poof, they’re ash. But what happens is the body gets put in an oven, which is known as a retort. There's an open flame that's at about 1800 degrees. It's got a five-inch pipe that feeds the fuel into the fire. So it has a very high carbon footprint. It uses as much gas as a cross country road trip. And the body's tissues are burned away. Fat is popping, and it's cooking the body. And then after about two hours what's left is bone, which is filled with fossil fuel and burned. So it's devoid of any nutrients. And then it's put through something that's called a cremulator, which is basically a pulverizer. And that's what you get back–pulverized bone that we call ash.” -Jamie Sarche

How did those words hit you? Were you shocked, a little disgusted or even offended? Did it pique your curiosity? Did it hit close to home because a loved one has recently died? Whatever your first response was, take note of it, and keep reading.

Meet Jamie Sarche

Jamie Sarche is the Director of Pre-planning at Feldman Mortuary in Denver, CO, where she helps people create end-of-life plans before their actual end-of-life is upon them.

Jamie helps us demystify death and dismantle our own residual death denial by taking us behind the scenes of a mortuary, connecting the dots between end-of-life preparedness and grief, making ancient Death and grief traditions relevant again, giving us an end-of-life planning toolkit, and making a compelling case for end-of-life preparations as an essential personal rite of passage.

Highlights From This Conversation

  • What actually happens when a body is cremated, and why it’s important for you to know

  • The vital connection between end-of-life preparedness, grief, and personal empowerment

  • What ancient Death and grief traditions have to teach us today

  • How to create your own end-of-life planning toolkit

  • Why end-of-life preparations are an essential personal rite of passage

How This Episode is Affecting Me

If you've tuned in much recently, you know that rites of passage are very much on my heart and mind right now. Episodes 60 and 69 tell more of that tale. Among the many things that stuck with me from this conversation with Jamie, the significance of end-of-life preparations as an important personal rite of passage is top of the list.

By voluntarily undergoing this rite of passage, we deal a mighty blow to our denial of Death and empower ourselves to live with even more guts, gusto, and abandon, and give the gift of less complicated grief to the loved ones we'll leave behind.

I've already set the ball in motion to complete end-of-life plans for me and my wife.

Make This Episode Matter in Your Life

Take a moment and breathe. Allow your heart and mind to bring to your attention the things from today's episode that are especially relevant to you. If it's a welcome Insight, receive it with joy and gratitude. If it's a less welcome Insight, but one that you know you needed nonetheless, receive it with courage and gratitude. Next, determine how you will pair your Insight with Action to move toward Transformation. Insight + Action = Transformation.

What's one thing within your ability to control that you're able and willing to do between now and when the next episode of this show drops in two weeks?

Whatever that thing is, commit to it, and do everything in your power to fulfill that commitment.

For some extra motivation and inspiration, tune into Ep. 064, End-of-Life Planning: Why You Should Do It Now, and How, with Michelle Mathai. Her story is both tragedy and triumph--a compelling case study in the value of making your plans now, while you still can.

The Graveyard Group: Demystify Death, and Live!

I created The Graveyard Group to give us all a concrete, consistent way to demystify Death, dismantle our death denial, and harness Mortality's incomparable motivational power to live with guts, gusto, and abandon. With your own confidential board of advisors in a small group setting, you give the things that matter most the attention they deserve, before it's too late.

It's easier to stick with the status quo...until suddenly it isn't, when crisis hits and there's no more time for do-overs.

Don't let the status quo get the best of you. Tap into Mortality's status-quo busting power, instead. See if the Graveyard Group is right for you.

New groups for men and women are launching in January, led by a fantastic team of facilitators. Go Here to learn more.

I’m so glad you tuned in today. Don’t forget to follow this show, and I’ll see you next time on Andrew Petty is Dying.

Invitation to Connect:

Let’s Connect

If this episode helped you, I'd love to know. Find me on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, visit my website, or email me.

Connect with Jamie

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If You Liked This Episode, I Think You’ll Like These, Too

New to Andrew Petty is Dying?

Welcome! I invite you to browse the archive of past interviews with fascinating people and short, topical solo episodes--all designed to equip you with the mindset and the means to become the person you were made to be and live the life you were made to live with guts, gusto, and abandon. We flip the script by inviting our ancient foe, Death, to become an unlikely ally in our heroic journey to leave it all out on the field of life. Turns out, Mortality might just be the best motivator available--blasting us out of our ambivalence and complacency and toward the fullness of our potential.

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