Talking about death, let's face it, is not one of the most pleasant subjects. Although it is the only absolute certainty we have during our entire existence, facing the end of human life still frightens and saddens most people. This is especially true in Western and Judeo-Christian cultures and religions.

Is it possible to approach death and funeral rites in a light, extremely informative, delicate, interesting, and even humorous way? The answer is yes, and it comes with a successful name in today's pop culture: Caitlin Doughty. It is perhaps hard to imagine how a girl born on the paradise Hawaiian island O'ahu could have started working in a crematorium at the age of 22.

Doughty is a funeral director who has become a resounding success on YouTube. She did not stop there and became an author of books best sellers fully dedicated to the thorny issues of the death industry and the mortuary universe through a scientific, thought-provoking, lively and optimistic approach. How did she achieve this feat?

Ask a Mortician - the series that positively addresses the taboos of death

Caitlin Doughty was already a licensed funeral director four years ago when she started her - somewhat peculiar - project. Her Youtube channel Ask a Mortician (Ask a funeral director), has been publishing since 2011 videos about the most varied doubts and curiosities about death, funeral traditions around the world, mourning, funeral art, morgue routines, and even more delicate details such as biological and natural decomposition processes - everything at the viewer's taste. 

Young, humorous visual identity and scripts that manage to be extremely informative, light and irreverent at the same time. This is how his videos (always presented with a captivating smile) add up to hundreds of thousands of views and positive reviews.

In one of the episodes, Caitlin invited experts to talk about the challenges of mortuary make-up on badly damaged bodies (such as in cases of accidents and serious illness). The first and touching comment in this video demonstrates the importance of this work.  

One woman told how these professionals were instrumental in giving her aunt the chance to have a less traumatic wake for her son, who was shot. His mother saw her son for the last time in a way that she recognized his face. I was extremely grateful for the skillful work of the makeup artists, which allowed for a proper farewell," reported the bystander.

Serious Studies

All of Caitlin Doughty's work is based on serious study. She studied Medieval History at the University of Chicago and specialized in the Culture of Death. She then majored in Mortuary Science at Cypress College in California, USA, where she currently resides.

Bringing together her experiences and knowledge, the influencer and author has traveled the world to closely investigate funeral rituals of diverse cultures, becoming an expert like few in her field. Caitlin, with her vast knowledge and experience, is an activist for the humanization of death and the funeral industry, seeking positive cultural transformations in the funeral universe. 

She founded the collective The Order of the Good Death, which works for a movement of more positive acceptance of death and its unfoldings. We are in the presence of a true educator about death.

From Youtube to literature

If in Brazil we are used to quick funerals and classical rites that include ornaments such as the wreath and more reserved burials, a dip into his book For All Eternitywill bring a new perspective on the treatment of death and the dead in other funerary realities in countries such as Mexico, Indonesia, Bolivia, Australia, Japan, among others.

Listed among the best sellers from The New York Times and illustrated by comic artist Landis Blair, the work presents us with a profound reflection on death as the highest expression of a culture, especially when compared to the molds of the millionaire Western funeral industry.

But this is not Caitlin Doughty's first literary success. Her debut book, Crematory Confessions (2016, DarkSide Books) tells part of his work routine and deep learning he received at the crematorium he worked at in California. The narrative is filled with real facts, philosophical, historical and mythological reflections that bring a totally different expanded view of everything that common sense imagines about this type of activity.

Talking to children

With such success and an audience, Caitlin began to receive many questions from her viewers and readers, especially from children. This was the spark for the production of her third book Will my cat eat my eyeballs?It will be released in the United States in September 2019. 

This brilliant work, which was illustrated by Dianné Ruz, answers 35 surprising, innocent and even hilarious questions asked by his younger fans. The answers are equally accurate and funny to unusual questions like "Can my grandmother have a Viking funeral? What if an astronaut's body was pushed out of a space shuttle? 

But mostly, this is a work that will help children learn not to fear death as we still do. 

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