033: Having Fun With Taboo Talk: The Death Deck

comfort curiosity death death deck deathpositive familiarity hospice Jul 12, 2021

After her husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, went through treatment, and eventually lost him, Lori LoCicero found support in Lisa Pahl, a hospice social worker who helped her navigate through grief, acceptance, and the hard questions about death. 

Their conversations about dying brought The Death Deck to life, a card game about questions and icebreakers about beliefs, preferences, and feelings about death.

In this episode, we talk about the uncomfortable thought about the end of life and turn it into a death positive movement to help open your mind and start a deeper conversation with your loved ones about death. We also discuss hospice care and services in the US, grief support groups, and finding peace in death talks and death planning.

Death is inevitable yet it should be discussed more often than not. If you want to find familiarity, comfort, and curiosity in this unconventional topic, this episode is for you.

The Death Deck was born from a void. A void of important conversations about death. As a Hospice social worker, Lisa Pahl helped Lori LoCicero navigate her husband's diagnosis, palliative care and death. Through the process, Lori realized those important conversations about her husband's impending death were unavailable to her and could have helped both of them feel more confident, comforted and autonomous in their planning and preparation. In addition, being able to talk about things like beliefs about what happens after we die, body disposition preferences and the simple recognition of death would have brought so much more peace and dissolved so much fear for both Lori and her husband. As Lisa helped support Lori post-death through her grief, the two birthed The Death Deck. Combining Lisa's decades experience in death care with Lori's career in comedy, The Death Deck is a series of questions and thought-starters meant to help you and your community get clear about death beliefs, preferences and feelings. It's a beautiful way to engage a totally taboo topic in an approachable, mostly comfortable way.

Show Highlights

  • The more I talk about it and get myself involved in this space, the more I really do appreciate life and living and really see the beauty and all of this.
  • The hardest conversations end up being the ones that feel so good when you’re done.
  • I think when it relates to death and dying, every conversation you have is this gift because your loved one may be able to look back on that conversation. They’ll remember the feeling, they’ll remember your words, and then will have the confidence to know what you would want during your dying process.
  • These conversations are hard, they’re difficult, they’re uncomfortable. But the sooner you start having them, the more comfortable they get. It really is something that you just jump into and start somewhere, but at least get the conversations going so that you have that.


Lori LoCicero is a writer, entrepreneur, and eternal optimist who also has a background in comedy. Lisa Pahl is a hospice social worker and ER crisis interventionist who is an advocate of mental health awareness.

You can purchase The Death Deck here and on Amazon and check out their latest updates on Instagram and Facebook

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