Documentary explores living with terminal illness

Friday, October 19, 2018 1:40PM

In a world that sees death as something to vanquish, the 45-minute documentary “Living While Dying” presents an alternative: people living with terminal illness who greet the inevitable with courage, humor, creativity and acceptance. Though the subject is difficult, the film is surprisingly uplifting.

In “Living While Dying,” filmmaker Cathy Zheutlin sets out on a brave quest to face mortality. The film will be screened at Groh Farm in the Garden Room, 135 Temple Road in Wilton on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 4:30 p.m. The screening will be followed by a Q & A with the filmmaker and invited guests/ content experts.

Death is a big mystery,
yet the outcome is 100 percent certain. Dispelling
traditional fears and expectations about death, “Living While Dying” invites us to reimagine and set the stage for our own inevitable endings. It offers profound opportunities to uncover value, grace, and meaning for all stages of life. Both boomers and millennials are now creating a grassroots movement to reclaim death as a natural part of life.

Zheutlin travels from Portland to Australia to Bali as she explores and unravels her own fears with an open, upbeat style. Along the way, she meets an Aboriginal elder and a “death walker” in Australia, and she witnesses a mass cremation in Bali. Because it’s personal, she invites her 90-year old mom to an outside the box moment - sitting inside a box, a coffin, to talk with her about her end-of-life wishes.

Says Zheutlin, “It’s not really about dying at all. It’s about asking: ‘How am I living today, because I actually could die tomorrow...Is the life I am living today the life I truly want?

For the past 40 years, Zheutlin has made films that explore consciousness and encourage progressive change. Past projects include “Lost Love” and the documentary “Just One Step: The Great Peace March,” the story of a 9-month cross-country trek for global nuclear disarmament. A wife, mother and craniosacral biodynamic healer, Zheutlin recently completed the award-winning short, “Spirituality in the Workplace.”

Living While Dying launched in Portland, Oregon to a sold-out premiere at the Clinton Street Theater, surprising and delighting the audience and extended community.

Following each screening audiences will be invited to join a discussion that can help change how we perceive death and dying. The filmmaker, along with end-of-life experts, will offer open-ended questions, inviting the audiences to address a topic once deemed taboo.