Considering endings

June 16, 2022

Before you continue, I’d like to note that this post mentions death. If that isn’t for you today, I’d encourage you to skip this one. Take care.

Tomorrow I’ll finish my current job. I’ll leave the United Kingdom soon, too. Amongst a number of recent (and pending) changes, I’ve faced a series of endings.

And, despite my recent notice of endings, I’ve realised how inevitable and common they really are.

We finish projects and jobs. We change cities and careers. We stop habits, good and bad. Weeks end. Relationships end. Lives, even.

Endings vary. Often based on circumstance, timing and choice. Sometimes an ending is our decision, but other times it’s out of our control.

In Joan Didion’s, The Year of Magical Thinking, she recounts the year after her husband died. More than writing to understand the apparent suddenness of his death, she writes to understand her reaction to this significant ending.

Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it.

Joan couldn’t have understood what she would face, until she did.

And Joe MacLeod, author of Ends, may help us understand endings in a different context. The design of services. In this talk, Joe says:

Well designed and thoughtful endings help us reflect, take responsibility and move on coherently.

Our “strained relationship to endings,” Joe believes, is a reflection of our poor relationship to death.

It feels like there’s a balance that, taken together, Joan and Joe encourage.

An ask for us to consider endings, while knowing we might not be prepared. At the very least, rather than ignoring endings, acknowledging their inevitability.


Networks for Social Impact

In this podcast, hosted by Kelly Ann McKercher, they speak about networks for social impact with Euan Black and Lauren Anseline. There’s lots of interesting things in there about building networks and community, but of particular relevance is an End of Life Impact Network which connects change makers and innovators in the end of life space.

The Care Lab

I met folks from the Care Lab at a conference a few years ago. They believe in designing care together and one of the areas of care they focus on is End of Life care.


Writing a will is something everyone assumes is going to be complicated. For many people, just hearing the words puts their guard up.

I’ve been interested in Farewill’s work for a bit. And while I couldn’t find a much writing about their process, this piece does scratch the surface on their ‘why.’ Anna Charity, who led the rebrand of Farewill, talks about creating a friendly and approachable brand to help change how we deal with death.


This was originally published on my newsletter, Design With. It was archived in 2023.