Claire O’Berry 00:08
Good morning in North Carolina and good evening here in busselton, Western Australia, it’s Claire O’Berry and Dying your way podcasts. And I am so delighted so delighted this evening to introduce you to someone who is just one of the most innovative people I know that said the death and dying movement, Kimberly C. Paul, welcome Kimberly.
Kimberly C Paul 00:32
Hey, how are you?
Claire O’Berry 00:35
So I’m running with me on Oh, gosh, I’m, I’m honored. I am so honored. Okay, so you’re an author, you’re a podcaster. You’re a keynote speaker and Ted talker. I love your TED Talk.
Kimberly C Paul 00:51
Claire O’Berry 00:52
one of the things that really impressed me is you’re an award winning marketer
that was born.
Claire O’Berry 01:00
And and then I have to say, really, I to begin with, you are just one of the most creative influencers that I can think of, if not the most creative influencer. I know, in the death and dying movement.
Kimberly C Paul 01:15
Oh, thank you. Yeah, yeah, I think I agree to it is just a key part of I think you were I was born with that. And a lot of people were like, how did you come up with that idea? I’m like, I have no idea. It’s, um, it is. Yeah, it is. And it just makes a lot. It just makes work. And whatever. I’m doing a lot more fun for me.
Claire O’Berry 01:36
Well, we have so many of your projects that we’re going to get into and talk about, but I want to just get number one. How did you go from being production at Saturday Night Live, to hospice to touring you know, the whole continental United States in your live well die well tour?
Kimberly C Paul 02:00
Yeah, that’s not the look like regular career path. Well, first of all, I was a peon on an apprentice apprentice on Saturday Night Live and we s production. Yeah, I mean, the grunt behind it all within the talent departments with Marci Klein, back in the day in the mid 90s. And went on then to CBS daytime casting, I was the assistant to Alison Rozelle and was, you know, really, we had shows in New York and Los Angeles. And after a couple of years with CBS, I decided to move back to North Carolina stayed for about a year or so in Raleigh met, a boy fell in love for the very first time. And he got into the FBI Academy. And I got a call from Wilmington, North Carolina, about a some production happenings in in Wilmington. One of the shows was Dawson’s Creek. And so I decided to head down. And when I arrived, they were on hiatus. And I thought, you know, I just lost my grandmother with breast cancer. And I thought I would go to the, you know, an organization that helped my family. And so, you know, I decided to go check into host base and see if they needed a volunteer. And, you know, I arrived and they said, first of all, you’re mispronouncing it as hospice, not host vice. And I’m like, Great, good tip. good tip. And, and then they put me in a room where I thought I was interviewing for to be a volunteer, and it was actually a paid position to oversee the volunteers. So after, you know, the interview, they, they they hired me, and I was like, could I do this for a while and then go back to television and film? And I was like, Sure, why not? You know, I’m done with struggling, you know, with, with doing our jars? Yeah. Yeah. So I was like, sure. In that five or six months, it ended up being about 17 years. So, um, yeah, you know, when, when you’re a creative or a storyteller. You follow the story. And what I found was really rich and relevant stories at the bedside of the dying, and, and I tried to add all my production experience with design thinking and how do you bring that to a very dark subject that no one wants to talk about? Right. And so I wanted to put color around death. And so really we changed our marketing philosophy of, instead of telling them what we can do for people, we started telling the stories of the patients. And so I found myself really journaling and following these individuals from, you know, some really hard times in their lives to, you know, where they are now facing end of life. And they’ve taught me a lot about what they regretted, which teaches me about how to live, if, if it’s, you know, fitting, but I really, I really learned at the bedside more about life than I did about death. And I’ve found the impact of some of these people that were just in my life for a very, very short time, having the biggest impact on my life long term. And after 17 years, I just got stymied. I was bored. You know, it became it became as a as a volunteer coordinator, I went up to VP of communications and outreach and created had the ability to work with a CEO that was like, Hey, here’s a canvas painted any, any way you want to. And when she retired, it was it was almost like, I felt and I joked with her all 17 years, when you retire, I’m retiring. And it ended up being about the same time. And I decided, you know, taking a leap, I was sort of confused about the Medicare benefit in the United States, how narrow it was and how Medicare was asking patients and families facing end of life to convert to a reimbursement stream, instead of the services really being catered to those who are facing end of life and their families. And there was a particular woman she was I believe, in her late 90s over 100 I think 102 maybe. And we discharged her because she got well. And two weeks later, she was in the ER, and she died in the hospital and I felt like my the hospice Dame Cicely Saunders hospice that I really fell in love with. We’re slipping through my fingers. Right. And I was watching it. And so I was like, how can I create something that I can really protect? Dame Cicely Saunders hospice, and I couldn’t do it as the VP of a local nonprofit hospice. Because as you know, a lot of hospices, they, they don’t want national attention. They don’t want to challenge Medicare. They’re happy with the scraps they get from Longshanks table, you know, but I wanted more. I wanted more for the patients and families. I wanted more, especially for the staff. Because as we grew our organization, when I got on, we were about 50 patients. And we grew to over six 700 collective hospice and palliative care patients. And the one thing that we did very poorly was we left the staff behind. And so
Claire O’Berry 08:16
about 700 hospice patients at once.
Kimberly C Paul 08:20
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, now collectively, palliative and hospice, but yeah, we had, you know, 600 hospice patients, and 200 palliative care patients. And so yeah, we, we really did a lot of community education, and, and really got ingrained in the community. We were a nonprofit. And we had this mission driven mentality. We worked, you know, there were some senior leaders that I worked with all 17 years. And it means staff, some of my staff were with me for 15 years. So you can see, you know, that had that the richness of what we were doing was not only benefiting patients and families, but we were growing and serving more people. But I do believe that we made some mistakes, like any organization does, and we left the clinical staff behind as we grew. And so when I left, it became this badge of honor. of I’m never going to do that again. And how how do I bring more awareness, more reimbursement, less regulations, and allow nurses and chaplains and social workers and CNAs and physicians to practice end of life outside of this medical model? Where are we in the United States are just so pushing it toward that medical model? When I first started in hospice, our nurses did not wear scrubs, and they were close. And and I and I know that The the the dynamics of hospice patients have changed. They’re sicker now. But still, it was how do we stay out of that medical model and
Claire O’Berry 10:10
changed, and I’m not sure you would probably know what happened. But my, my mother got in hospice in 2005. And she was on it for six years without Alzheimer’s started out with the condition of failure to thrive. And then it was just maybe in the last year that she got it because of Alzheimer’s. And then my father, he had to go on and off it. But he got we got the benefits of it for two and a half years. And they seem to be much stricter now about that. They only go in the last few days. I mean,
Kimberly C Paul 10:47
yeah, for some reason, I believe, because certain organizations took advantage of a lot of patients that probably truly did not qualify for the hospice benefit. And but but I say this, you know, you can’t let one bad apple destroy the entire barrel?
Claire O’Berry 11:10
Well, and I’ll just, I’ll just say, strongly that my, my mother needed all six years of that, you know, she really did. And, and I, if I was going to do,
Kimberly C Paul 11:23
yeah, and so did you. Yeah, I mean, absolutely. And, you know, when they took failure to thrive away, you know, but you have to understand the philosophy of, of America, we’re capitalist. And if we can make money off of anything, we’re gonna figure that out. And so what Medicare saw was a lot of people creating hospice organizations to make money, because they saw an influx of, of cash, when it came to hospice patients, and really hospice was not that was not as means focused, it was main focus was to break even, you know, take care of creating another environment. So people don’t have to die in the hospital, it can die in their home with, with visiting hours, 24 hours a day, and, and things like that. And so, yeah, we I think Medicare saw people getting rich. And so they became more strict, which I say, you know, maybe that’s the problem is, and I’m looking and working with several people who live in Canada, I’m looking at how their socialized model works at end of life. And I’m thinking, you know, I don’t care about the rest of the medical, healthcare, and the care about end of life. And what I’m trying to do is how do we create stop signs and intersections that we continue to have head on collisions? Yeah. You know, and that’s, that’s with physicians, that’s with family members, that’s with hospices, that’s with palliative care people, you know, how do we create stop signs and us Americans tend to look at money to pause. So if an oncologist was treating someone with a terminal illness, and they died as they were treating him and knowing that, hey, if you treat someone with a terminal illness, and they die on chemotherapy, you have to pay that back to Medicare, suddenly, it creates a stop sign to say, am I doing the right thing? You know, is this is this benefiting the patient? Or am I not facing the reality and the truth and having an open conversation with the family, even with nursing homes, you know, they’re skilling people in nursing homes, because they get a little bit more care, it’s higher reimbursement. But if you if someone dies on skilled days, within a nursing home, why isn’t that nursing home being, you know, paying back Medicare to create more of a, of a, a, a reimbursement a to take care of staff and end of life? Because it’s different. I mean, I see people leaving this field because of compassion, fatigue, not burnout, compassion, fatigue, left and right. So I want to really feel, I feel very selfish by saying this, but I really want to take care of the staff because I want those people who are born to do this at my bedside and my father’s bedside.
Claire O’Berry 14:23
Yeah, yeah. I was interviewing a doctor last week from in this busselton area, Dr. Sarah Moore, and she said it she’s a doctor of integrative medicine, you know, and she but she has palliative care patients, you know, in stage patients, but it’s, and yeah, the medical model is completely different here. Like you don’t pay for anything. But but we really started like jamming on this idea about you know, integrative care and Palliative care is really the same thing. get so hung up on this word is hospice and or how did you say hospice to host spice? spice. This is palliative care. But then there’s integrative care, which is also interdisciplinary, interdisciplinary and, and, you know, we just were like going, what, from womb to tomb, you know, people were like having that kind of model threw out their lives, that interdisciplinary model of care. So when those transitions for whatever reason happened to any of us, it’s just a seamless transition. You don’t have to prove anything or do anything or qualifier, it’s just like, this is the care you get, and it’s free. That’s why,
Kimberly C Paul 15:49
you know, it’s, it’s, it’s interesting, um, because we don’t have a system to measure integrity. In the United States, we don’t understand. We don’t know if the oncologist is saying more treatment, because this is what the patient wants, or even though it’s not going to do any good, or if it’s because reimbursement, he gets more money. So I mean, there’s nowhere to measure that his integrity when it comes to that. And so it’s left on that when someone with in stage cancer is being radiated to death. If they were just on comfort measures would they have lived longer. But I think also we Americans, we have a really hard time with truth, with reality, with, you know, acknowledging that the life that I leave this body, this breath that I’m able to talk to you with will one day be Duquesne, um, and, and I try to tell people, you know, I’m not a cheerleader for death. But I also am not someone that is going to run from it. I think when I see the bookmarks in the beginning and the end, it makes me live more fully today, and I compare it to vacation, you know, people people go to because I when I went to Fiji years ago, I was like 1012 days in Fiji and I was like, let’s, we were up early, we went to bed late. We there was we were exhausted when we got back. He was like we needed a vacation from our vacation. And I was, like, so exhausted. And I said, Well, you know, I thought about it for a long time. I’m like, well, we pushed ourselves really hard every day, because we knew it was going to end. Yeah. And we might not ever see this place again. So we pushed it. And my question is why? Why do we not do that with our lives? You know, we know it’s going to end. But we had we we tend to not push it not race towards something or do something that that lights our hair on fire. And we tend to settle thinking that we always have tomorrow. And I’m saying all i guaranteed is today. So it makes me get don’t want to get up early to see the sunset, it makes me you know, want to walk my dog one more time, just in case that I go to sleep tonight. And I don’t wake up.
Claire O’Berry 18:19
That’s it. That’s a great way to live life like, Hey, listen, I want to because I don’t really know that much about it. And I really want to hear about it. Because I’ve already registered for October the eighth. So I want you to tell us about your I want to tell you tell us about your movie I am so looking forward to it. I’m going to say it at the end too. But I’m just going to say it now that this is a movie called the elephant in the room. And it’s going to be on Amazon Prime October the eighth.
Kimberly C Paul 18:52
So just real it’s actually on yet. It’s actually on prime now. You can watch it now. Okay, yeah. And so we’re trying to get people to watch the movie ahead of time or even on the day. But I’m going to bring the cast on a zoom call so you can really talk to the cast behind making this film. And what what’s crazy is that Bonnie Freeman, a nurse practitioner in Los Angeles, wrote a book resilient hearts that then a screenplay that became the elephant in the room. And she died unexpectedly before the film was finished. And so the cast, who some of them are actual social workers, only a few are really trained actors. They would this was their love project for Bonnie because Bonnie could convince you to do anything. I remember the last time I talked to her on the phone, she’s like, Look, I have this movie. We just finished filming. It’s in post production on class promoted. I’m like, Yeah, great. And then I never heard from her again. And then this guy called Niko out of the blue, he emails me and says, look, Bonnie died. And he was the main character in the film. And he goes, I’m just a producer and actor, but I just feel like this is part of her legacy. And, and so Nico and I became really close. And, and we, I mean, he’s, I feel like we’re brother and sister because I just believe in who he is. And, and when the movie came out, they were putting in festivals, it started winning some things, and then they landed a just distribution deal. And it became on Amazon. And if you’re Amazon Prime member, it’s free to watch. If you’re not it only costs like $1 99. And but it’s a fabulous, fabulous film, about the looking through the eyes of the practitioner. And can we treat our patients differently when it comes to the end of life? And when it’s just an amazing movie, but I really think what makes this movie is is the people that are in it. The social worker in this movie is the actual social worker at the hospital in Los Angeles. And I thought she was an actress. That’s how good she was. But it’s it’s like they had this love project with Bonnie and gave time to Bonnie to create this film. And here it is on Amazon. And you know, I’ve been working with Nico almost two and a half years thinking this film was only going to be in festivals. They landed this distribution deal. And everybody’s like, Oh, my God, I can’t believe you. You got the whole cast to come on. And I was like, Well, you know, it’s sort of a long story. But we’ve been through thick and thin together. And I’ve been a big proponent of of supporting Bonnie and her vision long after her death. So she’d be so proud. Well, I’m proud of the crew.
Claire O’Berry 21:55
I can’t wait to see it. I thought it was just amazing. Okay, well, I wish I would have known that it was already up. Before and but oh, gosh,
Kimberly C Paul 22:05
yeah. What what I’m going to try to do that is a it’s a great people can see Yeah, you Yeah, you I’ve posted the trailer. But I guess I need to go online and really say, hey, elephant in the room is on Amazon Prime right now. And you can watch it and then meet the cast on October 8. So we’re really trying to get them to to watch the movie. And then come and ask questions. And we’ve had over close to 150 people already register in that was like in the first like 48 hours. So I want as many people to help me and help the cast Nikko and her husband who directed it, and many other people who are a part of this project behind the scenes to can we collectively come together and, and really be part of Bonnie’s legacy. To be so proud of these these cast members. I mean, I
Claire O’Berry 23:02
haven’t seen it yet. And you know, I can understand Bonnie’s legacy. But what is the outcome that you think or that you want? After people have seen this movie? What is the outcome or the takeaway that you want people to have?
Kimberly C Paul 23:17
I really feel that art is a great, a great venue when it comes to talking about hard subjects. And I think that if we can write a review on Amazon, if we can rate the movie on Amazon, and I’m not telling you to read five star rated to how you feel it was then Amazon Netflix, and everyone else is going to be like maybe we need more stuff like this. Yeah. And so really is how do we keep the door cracked and widen the doorway to sell Hollywood, hey, art is a really great way to introduce into life. Um, and I mean, there’s several French films out there, but to really tell the staff story. Um, and it really when I first saw it, it made me want to live more boldly. Because I will be dying one day. And it when you watch people at their end of life and the families interact, you, it’s very human to think of your own family, think of your own end of life. And so if this is if we can really inspire people to watch this, maybe we can inspire them to not only talk and have conversations about planning for end of life, but actually do it and bring and normalize this, hey, this conversation that it’s not so taboo that let’s bring it out of the closet, and and really have an open conversation about it. You know, when I that’s the goal,
Claire O’Berry 24:55
when I thank you for that. I mean when I look at the your CV, your resume or the all of the arc of what you’ve done, it seems like the theme in your work, starting in 2008 was about beginning the conversation. having that conversation, the advanced planning, having the just talking, talking to your doctor, to your family, you know how important that is? That seems to be always a theme of the of your work that I see.
Kimberly C Paul 25:31
Yeah, and I think that really changed. In 2004, that FBI guy that I fell in love with, I found out that he died of cancer. And he wanted to protect me and not talk about it. And so I found out years after we had broken up, and I reconnected with the family. And it was, it was I was I you know, of course, I thought boy didn’t love me. And then you find out the boy was trying to protect me. And then, but you’re still talking to the person that wasn’t told the truth? Yeah. And, you know, I keep joking with people. You know, when I, when I, I’m sure he’s going to be at the pearly gates when I show up, and I’m, I’m going to, of course, make out with him, but then I’m going to punch him in the face. Because I’m just like, it could have been so different. And I think things happen in your life that ended up creating momentum, and a very powerful message. That becomes your theme. And I was the girl that wasn’t told the truth? And would my grief had been different? Or? Or would if we were open and honest about that, what where would we have been? And instead of looking back, why not use the story to help others see that the girlfriend wanted the truth? And and if that helps someone to sit down and say, hey, yeah, I might not live through this diagnosis, what’s what needs to be said? And so that really catapulted me in this, in this, in this vehicle of truth matters. When it comes to end of life, even if it’s hard to hear, you must know. And I believe the patient I hear in the back of my head. So many families like what if my mom didn’t want to know the truth? Well, too bad. Because my job as a physician, is to tell the truth. So you can be educated on what you need to do moving forward. And if we don’t know reality, how can we make the best decisions on treatment or non treatment? Or I want this if that dream is going to make me sick, or I can’t talk? Because the blisters in my mouth? I mean, how how can we come together collectively, and and do the right thing? At the right time? Yeah. With the truth. And so I believe that’s the theme that you see is because of that experience with Rob, that I’m an advocate for the truth. No matter how hard it is, you started
Claire O’Berry 28:26
your tour, you’re live well die well toward his parents house, right?
Kimberly C Paul 28:31
Yeah, I did. You know, after I left hospice, I decided that as a marketing person I was looking at, you know, what is the what is a venue that is that is sort of popular, that is growing and viewer and readership. And the only thing that was growing was something called a podcast. And I was like, podcasts, video, audio. And I was like, maybe that’s what I need to do is to have New York, New York Times bestselling authors on here about end of life, but also my neighbor who struggled with her husband with dementia that had no resources didn’t qualify. Those stories are just important, just as important to me as that. That story on the New York Times bestseller list. Yeah. So how do we bridge that? And so I started the podcast never thinking anyone would listen. And it came, it became I think it was like one of the first three or four podcasts about end of life and I wanted it to be very Terry Gross. You know what I mean? I, I wanted it to be just a conversation that that, you know, you could be a fly. If you’re like, yeah, that’s not. Or man, that’s interesting. Let me look into it. Something that I can sneak my way into your house, and no one can know you’re listening, but I could help you hear some very horrific stories. That might change how you deal with stuff, or some really cool stories that will inspire you to live more fully. Yeah. So as I was coming off of my for, in the midst of my first season, I decided to, to really write about my experience with about about 15 patients. There are 15 stories in my book called bridging the gap. And I, I wanted the stories to be told, because I did not want the stories to die with me. I thought there, they were such a huge impact on my life, that I needed to write about them. But this is the crazy thing. As a creative, I wanted to be advanced care planning book, How to. And when I started writing it, it was not working. And I and I said, What inspires me to even tell these stories. And it, it came back to the stories that I heard. And, and so what I thought the book was going to be ended up totally changing, because of the stories and what I found myself when I was writing, and it took me about four or five months to write a book. And I was crying every day. And a friend of mine who’s a nurse came over and she goes, you know, we haven’t seen you I know you’re writing this book. And, and and my little eyes were puffy and she goes What’s going on? And I said I don’t know, I’m having, I think a a breakdown. Um, and she looked at me and she goes, Oh, my gosh, you’re grieving the first time for these people. Oh, I’m like, I, yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing. Because I was struggling. And I was reliving the stories. And I mean, I was I was I never knew the impact until I started writing until I wrote about them, and then just collapsed my knees to realize, oh my gosh, these people who were only in my life for a small amount of time, have had the biggest impact. Yeah, my life. And it was it was a time that I could that I’ve finally embraced Bowers in this whole grief stricken and compassion fatigue in this field and writing was a way to deal with my own grief. So the book came out. And I don’t I don’t know if you’ve heard about another book called Driving Miss Norma. It’s a it’s a great book. And, and the couple that wrote it, it was about Tim’s mom, and they were living in an RV. And they encourage the mom to come and travel the last year for life. And, and they had Norman Norman had passed away. And they had sold the RV and bought a boat and they were coming outside of they were doing the great Michigan loop. And they were on the intercoastal in North Carolina right as I finished my book, and they’re like, come out and have dinner with us on the boat. I’m like, okay, and I remember Tim saying, I have a great idea. You should buy an RV, go state to state and tell these stories. I’m like, there’s no way in hell, there’s no way in hell, I would ever do anything like that. Um, and I think the following weekend I was I was with a college friend. And she I was telling her that, you know, they were saying, Hey, you know, go buy an RV and go travel the country and tell your stories. And she just started laughing You know, those college friends who laugh in the most inappropriate spaces and humble you because they have pictures that aren’t on Facebook and you want to keep it that way. So you let them have some liberties to kind of like put you in your place. And so we were just laughing about it night I doubled down I was like until Jesus Himself shows me a burning bush. There is no way I would ever do this. So she was a smoker and when we went out on the front porch, she lit her cigarette and her neighbor had a you know, gasoline, gasoline fluid, and he was spraying it on this azealia bush. And within a second he struck and struck a match. And this azealia bush was on fire. And Sally’s like good luck on your tour. And I was like holy shit. And so I went over to the guy was like, What are you doing? He goes I’m burning a bush. I’m like, and this guy didn’t know me from Adam. Like I was like I see that you’re burning this bush but why now and he went on to the story about you know, my my wife’s on me I never finished my honey do list and you know the World Series is getting ready to come on and and i Have a matter of 10 minutes to burn this bush down. So I thought this was the best way to do it. And I told him and he’s and he barely looked at me. He’s like, Well, good luck on your tour. And within two weeks, I had bought the RV, and rented out my house, and was thinking, what else do I need to do? And I was walking my dog haven in Wallace park in Wilmington, North Carolina. And I got this call from Vermont. First of all, I don’t know anybody in Vermont, it snows there. And I don’t even talk to anybody in Vermont, but I answered the phone. And it happened to be Roberta McDonald from Cabot cheese. And she goes, I heard about your tour. And I was like, Really? I was like, how, what? I never didn’t do any press releases. And she goes, you know, we, I think we want to sponsor you. I’m like, What? Like, money? And she goes, yes, I think we should, you should get more sponsors. And we’ll wrap your RV with the sponsors. And we’ll support you financially as well as send cheese to all your speaking engagements. And I was just like, Alright, first of all, what does cheese have to do with end of life? And I mean, there’s got to be connection there. And she said, This, which was brilliant. She goes, Well, we’re a co op. We have dairy farmers that own us. And we raise our children on a farm from a very young age teaching them that all living things die. And so we thought we might could help out with the conversation. And I was like, Yes, you can. Yes, you can. And so they became the sponsor. And when you have like a national cheese company, you know, then it opens the door with everybody else coming on board, we by the time and ended the tour, it was 34 sponsors that I had supporting me on on this tour, we made it to we were going to drive to 49 states because I don’t I can’t drive to Hawaii. But we ended up in Portland, Oregon State number 45 and COVID-19 hit and and we decided to, to end the driving tour make our way back to North Carolina close to family members who who have some chronic illnesses that might have been affected by COVID. And be close by and we have still four states to visit which are Alaska, Michigan, Utah, Montana and Hawaii. And and I’ll and I will fly to their their states and continue to live well dive into orbit the whole earth to rally the people in my field to meet me and wanting to tell their stories to people who are who are creating the regulations and the laws that we have to practice by. Because I felt like if we tell the stories of our patients of how difficult it is to take care of those at the end of life, maybe we could change policy. And now I wanted it to be March fourth 2021 because I wanted to march forward. Yeah, because I wanted an action date. But what we’re probably going to do because of the pandemic and we’re not sure when this is going to be our you know this our new normal, but when we’re going to go back to some similar, you know, normalcy way of life, we’re probably going to do a lot of almost StoryCorps videos, as well as a YouTube channel to really tell the stories of the CNA and the nurses. So we’re in the project and it’s, it’s called live well die well overflow on like, the tour is overflowing with all of these stories. So we’re trying to capture them. And and hopefully it will crack the door open. So maybe even in 2022 we’re able to, to have that congressional hearing and just tell the story. And if it affects the way you create laws and regulations. So be it as long as the people who are in this field have that opportunity to share. Yeah,
Claire O’Berry 39:24
and that’s what needs to happen on a public policy level. You know, and when you’re talking to those policymakers, you know that they aren’t going to be in that position at some point themselves. So
Kimberly C Paul 39:39
it’s a Bible Yeah, as a bipartisan issue. I mean, we’re all going to get there. And it’s it’s really how can we create stop signs within this intersection together, collectively?
Claire O’Berry 39:52
Yeah, it is the great equalizer. And another thing that you know, I think struck me about your work is how Through traveling all the different states and meeting with so many different people with honestly some polarizing points of view and different points of view that you have the ability to bridge the gap.
Kimberly C Paul 40:19
You do? Yeah, well, the one thing I wanted was, I didn’t want an organization to pay me. I wanted to, to struggle financially with some supporters to barely make the tour happen, because I believe that, that when you’re paid by someone, there’s motivation behind that. So I’m going to show it to Congress saying that this is what I’ve risked to learn from every state. But no one’s paying me to do this, except, you know, the memory of my boyfriend passing at 30 at the age of 30. And then hearing in the stories that I’ve collected in all 50 states. And I think, since we’ve delayed this congressional hearing, I really feel like I want to touch base with all the individuals that are coming into the office. And, you know, it’s such a, it’s such a tremendous, crazy time in America with with the, you know, racism with the election coming with pandemic, that, you know, I always look for direction from the universe, and maybe it’s just not our time, because I don’t want to be sidelined by something that we need to be paying more attention to. Because that we’ve got to deal with this pandemic, we’ve got to, we’ve got to deal with the racism that’s happening for decades and decades and decades. How we do not see people based on their character. And instead of their color, I have no idea. And I believe that it’s time to to level the playing field, and realize that, you know, all lives matter. But right now, black lives matter the most to because it’s they we have not honored them, you know, I was, we’re talking about statues coming down. But I’m just saying instead of taking down statues put on statues of Harriet Tubman and everybody who’s been a part of our history, African Americans will access to Hell yeah. Absolutely. It’s like how do we, how do we make healthcare? A right and not a privilege? It is
Claire O’Berry 42:46
place else in the world? It is?
Kimberly C Paul 42:50
Well, I believe we make too much money, we’re capitalist, you know, how do we make money and, and until until that one person who has the authority to change things are affected by it, then then we’ve got to tell our story. Yeah. And so that’s, that’s really important to me. Plus, I do feel like in part of this reimbursement, we’ve got to have room that no one works 40 hours and end of life 25 to 28 hours is enough for someone at the bedside of the dying, they have got to have work life balance, to maintain their love for the job, but also their love for life. You know, there’s a lot of things that I feel that the staff in this end of life field needs. And especially within hospice, mandatory bereavement, these people see a lot of deaths and within palliative care as well. I mean, how do we, how do we create some space for these people to deal with what they see as a human being instead of a robot? Yeah, that’s, that’s really important to me as well.
Claire O’Berry 43:59
Well, I have a lot of ideas, we’ll have to talk some more because I have so many ideas.
Kimberly C Paul 44:05
Claire O’Berry 44:06
can really one of the great things about traveling is that I’ve been able to see different approaches to death and dying in different countries. And, you know, I’m not saying everything in Australia is perfect by any means. But you know, that people shouldn’t have to be bankrupt because they need you know, to get a, you know, a knee replacement or
Kimberly C Paul 44:28
whatever, or 36 and have a brain tumor, and they’ve now maxed out their credit cards, and they have three young children under the age of eight. And they’re thinking what, I’m just trying to survive this and see my kids grow old. I mean, there’s there’s certain things that are just nonsensical. Yeah.
Claire O’Berry 44:48
Well, let’s pray really, really hard. And I’m gonna let you go but I’m gonna see you again because we’re both going to be on the Beautiful dining Expo. So I’m just going to give a thing about that. That’s November the 13th. Through the 15th. And it is a you’re going to be a keynote speaker. And yeah,
Kimberly C Paul 45:10
I’m actually going to like host it, like emcee the whole event. Oh, good. So yes, so I’m really looking Michelle little with, it’s a really great forum. And you know, they’ve done a lot of work trying to make it an in person events the first year, and now it’s a virtual event. So it really is opened up for everyone to attend.
Claire O’Berry 45:30
Yeah, well, and I’m, I’m participating in it, I’m really looking forward to how that’s gonna shake out. But so the best way for people to get hold of you, is it death by design calm. So
Kimberly C Paul 45:45
yeah, that’s where you want to absolutely, and you can drop me, I, I welcome any guest who has a story onto my podcast, you don’t have to be any one. I’m not anyone. Um, so people will be like, Hey, I was I have a story and, and they pitch it to me, I’m like, Well, of course, you can come on my podcast. So you can always connect with me through the contact page, you can order my books through that page, and I’ll sign them for you. And I’m the one that that knows the the US postal system name. The people that shipping them by names. So I’m the one that takes it to the post office because I I really want to know, and be and make this an intimate experience for everyone. But yeah, please listen to death by design podcast, check out my TED Talk. But just know that I am one of thousands of people in this field trying to make a difference. And and I’m very proud to look around and see people like you and many others that are doing really great work as well.
Claire O’Berry 46:46
Well, let’s continue to pray, it’s gonna make a difference. I mean, there there will be a tipping point where people are going to go, Oh, I get it. And then the resources are going to be there and people will have access to it. I just hold that vision. It’s going to happen. And that’s what we’re doing this right now. It’s
Kimberly C Paul 47:07
because Absolutely, it’s about human rights. And, and that’s not only for the United States, but for the world, or the you know, how do we how do we how do we take care of the world? And I believe it’s one community, one person at a time. Yeah,
Claire O’Berry 47:23
I could, I could talk to you forever. I’m gonna let you go because we’re gonna talk to the end. So anyway,
Kimberly C Paul 47:28
well, you know, I’ve never been to Australia. And so I do want to come. And I have a great friend who turned 50 last year, but I was on a book tour and couldn’t make it. So if there’s any opportunity that we could bridge the gap between the seas, let’s do it.
Claire O’Berry 47:43
Hey, I’m a block from a beach from the beach. You’ve got it. You’ve got it. You’ve got your own bedroom.
Kimberly C Paul 47:48
Yeah. Cool. Well, I look forward to it. All right.
Claire O’Berry 47:51
get relief. Paul. Thank you so very much. Thank you.