Behind the Scenes: I Have This Thing About Death


I have this thing about death. Since being diagnosed with cancer in 2010 death doesn’t own me the way it used to. Don’t get me wrong I still don’t want to die anytime soon but once you face death straight on, some of it’s power seems to diminish.

I have this friend named Laura Caldwell. She died a few weeks ago. But she knew she was going to die and she decided to die on her own terms. I love that whole idea. Someone who is brave enough, and thinks ahead to understand this life is just a fraction of what we really get.

We did a couple of interviews with Laura right after she found out she had just a few more “earthly moments left”. What struck me most is her bravery. I know deep down inside she didn’t want to die but she weighed her options and figured the afterlife was better than more poison in her body to keep her alive.

Years ago, right after the so-called “Death with Dignity” measure passed in Oregon, I did an interview with a man who had a terminal disease and was planning to kill himself with medication the next morning. The whole thing fascinated me. I’m not a proponent of suicide, in fact I think death is probably something God should decide for each one of us. I’m a guy who thinks those last moments of life can be the best if we trust and leave it up to God. But that said, this man made his choice and I wanted to find out why.

He was at peace with his decision. I aired the “WaterCooler” one night and the next morning he took his own life.

When I visited Central America a few years ago it surprised me to see coffins in the streets and funerals going on, in town, on a regular basis. It seems to me that other cultures understand death is part of life but in the United States we try to hide it in a mortuary or a hearse and bury the dead ignoring the fact that we too will end up in the same place.

This week on Rick Dancer TV we will again show you the story of my friend Laura Caldwell. I ask that you pay close attention to her words. Listen to the joy and the pain as she quietly says goodbye. If death is too much for you I encourage you to watch it over and over again and remind yourself that how we die is as important as how we die.

Since you have decided to read all of my deadly words here is the Rick Dancer TV show for this week, early, as a reward. Take a little time to pass it on to those you love. Show those who you care about that death is not the end it’s actually a silent beginning.

Yes there is an actual person named Rick Dancer. For more than 20 years I worked in the Television News Industry as a main anchor/reporter for commercial television stations in Western Oregon. I’ve received numerous awards over the years for my story telling and received “Best Writing Awards” fifteen years consecutively. You'll find me now at

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