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I have been very impressed by the Groundwell Project’s Dying to Know Day, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. The initiative seeks to get Australians to think about their end-of-life choices and then communicate them to their loved ones.

I wish there were other such initiatives in the northern hemisphere! Maybe September isn’t a bad month to choose.

Have you thought about your end-of-life choices? Do you need help visualizing them as a way to help you communicate your wishes to loved ones? VEOLI can help; let us know if you need a hand!

That phrase makes me pause.

What about you? What does that statement mean to you?

To me, and over 125 people live and in-person (plus more online) at the Graphic Medicine Annual Conference, (Re)Connecting, in Chicago last week, it means that a drawing can be medicinal, therapeutic.

Have you ever had this kind of experience, in which a drawing helps you comprehend something, increases clarity, or perhaps enables you to feel seen and understood?

Those are the qualities of the comic artwork drawn, written, and shared at and at this conference.

I presented a Lightning Talk at the conference, “Here for Good,” about a zine I created that playfully and accurately describes the role of chaplains' work in hospitals. The inspiration for this project was my experiences with a broad range of patients and family members in a suburban New York hospital. These encounters — from delight and acceptance to being not-so-politely asked to leave (without having said more than “Hello, my name is Chaplain Jill.”) spurred me to develop a comic that, in a novel and accessible way, enables patients and their families to make informed choices about whether to engage with chaplains/spiritual caregivers.

Everyone in this session (and another panel I was on) received the zine, a few questions that inquired about the systems they each work and live in, and a feedback form.

I believe that I am bringing “graphic medicine” through visuals to people and systems that don’t have them. I am “nudging” the system for the benefit of its clients by providing information, and that supports clear decision-making.

I want to know what you think too! If you would like to receive the zine as a pdf (I can send directions about how to cut and fold it), please respond to me, at I would love to send it to you and learn about your reactions to it!

I find this engagement with and for others—drawing and writing—a stimulant for me, and the result is medicine for those within my reach. If you’re interested in helping me, extend this reach—let’s chat!

Graphic Medicine aligns well with Visualizing End of Life Issues.

The community of Graphic Medicine, as described on its website, "explores the interaction between the medium of comics and the discourse of healthcare. We are a community of academics, health carers, authors, artists, and fans of comics and medicine." Check it out!

So why is Graphic Medicine a thing? I think my sketch below from one of the conference speakers says it all (I regret not recording who said this):

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