This week brings us someone very special. Barbara Frandsen, Author of Dignity in Death. Barbara's earliest experience with death occurred at age seven when her mother was diagnosed with stage four, incurable cancer. Dignity in Death is an invitation to release fear and embrace acceptance, opening new and limitless opportunities for knowledge, adventure, and unconditional love.
Tell me about your journey to becoming a writer.
I love stories, especially family stories. Some stories make me laugh; others bring tears. Really good stories recreate the fabric of life. Although I enjoy telling stories, I switched to writing when my older grandchildren announced that they had heard all of my stories and it was time for me to stop. I thought, “Well if I stop now, the boys will forget. By the time they become mature enough to care, I’ll be gone.” Within a few days, I began writing the stories my grandmother had told me when I was a child.
What was the main inspiration behind this book?
While writing Dignity in Death, the ultimate inspiration came from considering my own death. I began to ask questions such as, “Do I want to die at home or in a medical facility? Would I prefer a party or a religious memorial? Where and how do I want the family to dispose of my body?” Answers became strangely comforting. Once I gained the peace that resulted from making and communicating my choices, I wanted others to also become comfortable with the realities of death.
What kind of research did you have to do for it?
When the wife of our son’s best friend died of cancer, I researched ideas from experts about ways to comfort grieving families. In addition, thoughts about my own death prompted research into end-of-life options as well as the responsibilities that must be assumed by family members. It became important to make events surrounding my death as simple as possible for my husband and children.
What was your writing routine?
I know I should advise others to establish a daily writing routine. I write when I find some empty time and a quiet house. With eight grandchildren and one great-granddaughter living within ten minutes from our home, life continues to be unregulated by opportunities for fun. Even during a pandemic, I write in between telephone conversations and visits in the backyard.
Describe your book in one sentence.
Dignity in Death shares: personal experiences, suggestions about what to say to help others, and ways to prepare for the certainty of one’s own death.
Tell us about the best writing advice you’ve ever received.
If you want to be a writer, be a reader.
Do you have any upcoming events?
Our second grandson and his fiancé had planned to get married in our back yard. The pandemic hit, and their wedding had to be put on hold. Once the nation becomes safe enough for this sweet couple to have the wedding of their dreams, I will fully appreciate this important event.
Tell us something about you that your fans may not know or something that you want to share.
My daddy, who has remained my hero, was an authentic West Texas cowboy who rode horses, grew cotton that towered over his 6’ 4” height, and spoke imperfect Spanish and English.
Why should anyone read your book?
I have become convinced that death can be experienced with dread or as an adventure. The word “dignity” sums up the difference. Anyone fearing death might benefit from reading the book.