An upcoming conference will cover a range of topics related to death and dying. (Photo: National Hospice, MNGOnline)

During the process of dying, people sometimes have shifting breathing patterns or visions of loved ones; sometimes they speak in metaphors, talking about needing to get their bags and take a trip.

But not everyone is aware of those signs, and many people don’t want to talk about the process of dying, organizers and participants of an upcoming conference said.

Welcome Home of Chattanooga, which provides shelter for those who have nowhere else to go for end-of-life care, hosting its second annual spring conference, called Demystifying Death and Dying.


“We’ve become scared of dying,” the organization’s Director Sherry Cunningham said. “So, we don’t get our healthcare wishes [taken care of].”

During the April 27 conference, attendees will be able to address topics, such as end-of-life wishes.

For example, during the Mindful Mapping portion, the leader will have crayons and big sheets of paper so participants can map out what they want their death to be like.

Other speakers will debunk myths about hospice and Martha Jo Atkins will give the keynote, “The Language of Dying.”

Atkins will discuss some changes that happen during the dying process—such as the visions or breathing differences.

“[We want people to] recognize those things are normal and natural…They are not things to be scared of,” she said. “It’s OK to be scared. But when we know what’s happening, that it’s a natural thing…[you can] not be so frightened.”