Everything from your favorite songs to life-changing books can help you address your own feelings about a range of difficult topics.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Best Podcasts About Death and Dying
- Best Podcasts About Grief
- Best Podcasts About End-of-Life Planning
Podcasts can do the same. Whether they consist of practical advice about these topics, emotional conversations about them, or both, podcasts offer a convenient and enjoyable way to learn.
Consider the following podcasts about death. Some explore cultural death traditions, some involve stories about grief, and some offer end-of-life planning information. However, all of them are impressive podcasts that cover a subject many shy away from.
Best Podcasts About Death and Dying
Every living thing dies. Death plays an unavoidable role in our shared human experience. These general podcasts about death and dying explore it from a variety of perspectives.
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1. TED Radio Hour: Rethinking Death
The TED Radio Hour Podcast combines interviews with excerpts from past TED Talks to adapt the popular visual presentations for an audio format. Its “Rethinking Death” collection is a series of episodes that cover topics as burial methods, whether it’s important to be honest with people who are dying, and even the importance of having a bucket list.
Because each episode’s guest is the type of expert who would deliver a TED Talk in the first place, listeners can also be confident that the information they offer is accurate and authoritative.
2. Pre-Dead Boys
Anyone who studies the topic of death in various cultures knows it can be surprisingly interesting. Cultures throughout the world and history have simply practiced a range of unique death traditions and customs.
Pre-Dead Boys explores them, offering listeners a fascinating look at the way people across the globe approach this universal human experience. Episodes also sometimes provide advice on related subjects, such as what to do to learn more about death during a pandemic.
3. The Adventures of Memento Mori
The Adventures of Memento Mori is very much what it sounds like. It follows host D.S. Moss as he explores the topic of death from multiple angles, including scientific, spiritual, and personal.
It’s an ideal podcast for anyone who struggles to grapple with the fact that all lives eventually end. The host’s somewhat casual tone also ensures what could otherwise be a morbid podcast is actually light and enjoyable.
4. The Art of Dying Well
For what are probably obvious reasons, a lot of people don’t like to talk about death. This is understandable. However, this impulse also prevents many of us from addressing an experience everyone goes through.
The Art of Dying Well is among the most renowned podcasts about death because it encourages guests and listeners to talk about death and grieving without fear or reluctance.
Listening to the episodes may even help you better appreciate how talking about death reminds us of the importance of living life to the fullest. The Art of Dying Well offers episodes that frequently highlight the fact that discussing death puts the value of our lives into perspective.
Best Podcasts About Grief
The podcast format has become extremely popular in a very short amount of time for many reasons. A major one is the simple fact that a podcast’s loose structure gives people the chance to talk deeply about personal topics. Guests share their stories less formally than they might on a TV talk show, giving listeners the sense they’re actually participating in genuine conversations.
This is why podcasts about death and grief can be very helpful for anyone coping with a loss. Options to consider include:
5. Good Grief
Grieving is a long process. Sometimes, a single podcast episode can’t truly capture the drawn-out nature of the experience. That’s what makes Good Grief unique. In the podcast’s first season, producer Sam Sabin tells the story of how she grieved her father in a serialized format. This allows her to explore the grief process more thoroughly than she otherwise might.
Because Sabin and her father were estranged at the time of his death, Good Grief can also help listeners cope with the difficult experience of continuing to harbor negative feelings about someone while simultaneously mourning their passing.
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6. What’s Your Grief?
What’s Your Grief? is one of the top podcasts about death because its hosts are mental health professionals. They leverage their combined 20+ years of experience in grief counseling to offer listeners useful information about a topic many misunderstand because they don’t have the chance to talk about it often.
Specific episode subjects are also fairly comprehensive and wide-ranging. Individual episodes touch on what to do when you can’t be with a dying family member, how to live-stream a funeral service, reasons grief sometimes feels stronger in certain situations, and much more.
7. Terrible, Thanks for Asking
Too often, people going through difficult times feel they need to pretend to be fine and content regardless. Terrible, Thanks for Asking is a response to this “put on a happy face” social expectation.
It gives a range of guests the opportunity to honestly talk about experiences people often feel they have to hide. Episodes frequently focus on the specific difficulties grief naturally involves.
8. Where’s the Grief?
People cope with loss in many different ways. For example, some find humor helps them grieve more easily. That’s why Jordon Ferber created Where’s the Grief?
What started as a platform for Ferber to vent about his own feelings after his brother’s sudden death turned into a show in which comedians (and sometimes other performers) discuss the topic, often from a humorous and death positive perspective.
Best Podcasts About End-of-Life Planning
Podcasts are often educational. Listening to them can help you learn more about topics you may not be familiar with.
For instance, these podcasts cover end-of-life planning. If this is a subject you want to understand more thoroughly, consider giving them a try.
9. Death, et seq.
"Death, et seq." literally translates to “Death, and what follows.”
Host Tanya Marsh is a law professor specializing in funeral and cemetery law. In each episode, her expert insights (along with those of her guests) help to clarify such topics as funeral planning and methods of body disposal.
10. When You Die
End-of-life planning often involves making arrangements regarding a person’s care and well-being in the months and weeks leading up to their death.
When You Die explores many related topics, such as palliative care and the importance of end-of-life education in schools, with various experts contributing to episodes.
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11. End-of-Life University
As its name implies, End-of-Life University strives to offer people comprehensive information about end-of-life planning.
Its podcast complements the numerous resources this organization provides, touching on topics ranging from home care to the benefits of medical hypnosis at the end of a person’s life.
12. NPR: The End of Life
NPR: The End of Life covers many issues people with little end-of-life planning experience may find relevant.
Some episodes feature suggestions from listeners offering practical end-of-life financial advice. Others discuss how to care for aging parents. Others cover the reasons end-of-life care can be (but doesn’t need to be) expensive.
13. Dying Matters
Dying Matters is sometimes a general podcast about death but its focus is primarily on end-of-life planning.
Various episodes explore funeral options, hospice, and even how to talk to young children about the reality of someone’s impending death.
14. Living While Dying: An ALS Story
Many people don’t expect they’ll need to concern themselves with end-of-life planning for years. However, that’s not always the case. Consider the example of Bruce Kramer, who suddenly had to face the reality of his own death when he received an ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) diagnosis in 2010.
Over the course of the next five years, he recorded Living While Dying: An ALS Story about preparing to die, providing insights about how listeners may also prepare for the inevitable.
Episodes blend both practical advice with emotional and personal reflection, touching on many elements of end-of-life planning.
15. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
This is technically just one episode of a podcast. However, it’s worth including on this list because it covers a very important end-of-life topic: medical care.
In the episode, Dr. Atul Gawande covers medical advancements for end-of-life care, as well as alternatives to traditional medical approaches during the end of a person’s life. If you find yourself wanting to learn more, you can always read Dr. Gawande's book of the same name. Read our full review here.
16. Living With Hospice
The topics of end-of-life planning and hospice are often intertwined. Arranging for proper hospice care can help ensure a loved one’s final days are as comfortable as possible.
In Living With Hospice, host Mitch Ware offers tips to help listeners achieve this important goal.
Podcasts About Death: Offering Comfort and Advice
Each of the podcasts about death on this list is unique. Some may appeal more to you than others.
That said, every one of them reveals how podcasts can offer you a helpful way to address one of life’s crucial subjects.