Lessons for the Living| 24mins
Director: Lily Henderson | Producer: Leslie Koren and Shani Hashaviah
Focus Years: 2010 | Country: United States
In the tradition of Albert Maysles' 'Letting Go: A Hospice Journey' and Frederick Wiseman's 'Near Death', 'Lessons for the Living' reveals a unique subculture of hospice volunteers as they reflect on their experiences with the dying and their new found philosophies of life and death. As the baby boomer generation enters its senior years, this film offers a timely look at what it means to face mortality.
'Lessons for the Living' shows that the dying have a great deal to offer the living. Each person has an impression and a story to tell about the mysterious act of dying and how it has affected his or her life. Among them, a teenager escapes from the drama of high school by sitting on the bed side with a man whispering wisdom to him only to bring his corpse to the morgue one day later. A hard-edged corporate lawyer searches for meaning and finds his experience with the dying worth more than his riches. A shaman passes through the heavy hospice door and communicates with people's nearly dead souls. A young woman cherishes seeing the very moment of passing and the song sung directly after. A terminally ill but vivacious woman talks about the dying people she's met with unexpected humor and grace and is amused over her own, fast approaching, death. However small or great these moments spent with the dying are, these volunteer's lives have been changed forever.