He Said It Was His First Flight… I Looked for the Puke Bag!

He looked to be about 50 years of age. A farmer. As I sat down next to him, he immediately told me that this was his very first time on an airplane. I must confess I looked to see if there was a puke bag in the seat pocket in front of him….just in case.  “So how are you feeling?” I asked him. “Good,” he answered. “Excited!” he continued. I smiled. I hoped it would turn out well for him – and for me – and for the young girl in the window seat next to him whom he had also informed about his first flight adventure. Continue reading →

Speaking the Same Language Is Impossible When It Comes to Dying


I recently returned from a music camp where my wife Erica was a guest choral conductor.

It was in Quebec. French was the predominate language spoken by the participants. Erica speaks it fluently, but unfortunately, I only speak English. Because of that, I often felt left out of the conversations that were taking place. It wasn’t anybody’s fault, nor was it intentional. I just couldn’t follow the conversation. Continue reading →

Directing Your Own Story: Why Your Dying Is Your Business


Dying is not a passive event – at least not until you are no longer able to mentally engage with with those around you.

Your life is like a storybook. It’s important to look back on your life and consider what’s been significant. What have been the highlights? The struggles? The surprises? It’s also important to look ahead and consider how your last chapter on earth might unfold in a direction that you prefer. As such, you need to take the author’s pen. Continue reading →

Boundaries to Die by… Say What?


When I met my second wife, who is a native Quebecer, I discovered that people don’t really stop at stop signs in Montreal. I had to re-learn how to stop when we’d go out there to visit her family. The “stop” is closer to a “yield” than a full stop there – this is due in part to the fact that there are so many stop signs! At first, I was unsure when to stop and when to go; who was at the stop sign first; and if it was my turn to proceed. I eventually learned and became confident. Continue reading →

Sugar and Salt: Why we should add both ingredients into our dying


Sugar adds sweetness. Salt adds flavour.

While most people have come to understand that dying is about subtraction – something being taken away – I have come to believe that it has everything to do with addition. Even though we are preparing for our final chapter on earth, we should consider what we would like to leave to our family and friends once we’re gone – something that will continue to “taste good” even after we have died and made our way into our next story.

I watched a humming bird the other morning. It came and took sweet nectar from a flower. And then it flew away. That evening I tasted the wonderful flavours of a restaurant dish I was eating in Montreal. And then we left.

We have much to give to others in our dying. We are not certain how long we will stay. Your “sugar and salt” should be offered freely as gifts to be opened and shared with those who are most important to you.

A spoonful of sugar. A teaspoon of salt.

What might those ingredients look like for you?

Rick Bergh is a best-selling author. His latest book, Looking Ahead: How Your Dying Impacts Those Around You will be released in November.  In it, Rick Shares his 30 years of experience and his personal journey with his first wife Pam and their last three months together prior to her death at 47 years of age.

Connect with him at www.rickbergh.com or www.intentionalgrief.com