Lisa & Lori Talk About Death
Hospice is an unlikely place to meet a future business partner. But that’s exactly where The Death Deck creators Lisa Pahl and Lori LoCicero met.
When Lori’s husband Joe was placed on home hospice, Lisa was the LCSW to receive the dreaded the early morning call. Joe was dying of pancreatic cancer. He was 44.
“We thought we were prepared. We had wills and life insurance but never discussed details about things like medical preferences or his final wishes.” Says Lori, “Two months before my husband died, I found myself in the uncomfortable position of asking him these tough questions. I was able to get some answers, but not nearly enough. Many things I never even knew to ask.”
It was Lori’s first time dealing with all the details that surround death. Lisa experiences the process almost every day. “I’ve witnessed countless family members struggle with making end of life decisions. It’s an excruciating time to be making these seemingly impossible choices on behalf of a loved one. So often people say, We’ve never talked about it. Even when people have an Advance Healthcare Directive in place, the family members often haven’t discussed what their instructions mean.”
The two bonded over Lisa’s compassionate expertise and Lori’s willingness to explore her grieving process fully. After Joe died, their healing sessions continued -- exceeding the typical timeframe of aftercare, extending to over 2 years. “I kept calling - she kept coming.” Their conversations grew to include their frustrations on the “taboo” topic of death in our culture and how important it is to not only have these conversations but to have them early.
Their sessions turned into ideas. Their ideas manifested into The Death Deck.
With a playful tone and a sense of humor, The Death Deck is both a game and tool that allows friends and family members to open up and share thoughts, stories, and preferences about life and death in a non-threatening and surprisingly fun way. By starting these conversations early, and within the context of a game, it inspires players to continue these discussions and complete the important documents they've been avoiding. It also encourages living more in the moment, appreciating life, and leads to feeling more prepared when the inevitable arrives.
Play On, Brave Souls!