Dying in Community

An antidote to “My life. My death. My way.” While considering one’s death has been central to many spiritual and cultural traditions through the ages, the modern incarnation in our individualistic, me-first society can become something of a… Read More

A Sad Farewell to the Man Who Started a Movement

Six years ago, a man and his mother started a worldwide movement. The 50-country-strong Death Café community is rocked today by news of the sudden death of founder Jon Underwood. Jon, who inspired, guided, and supported hundreds of… Read More

“We’re Meant to Carry Each Other”

DIY Coffin Clubs, Handmade Caskets and Shrouds Some retirees join bowling teams or bridge clubs. But every Tuesday night in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, several dozen gather to engage in what the New York Times reports is “a… Read More

Die Remembering

Some thoughts on the eve of an ancestral pilgrimage Among the promises of a better life and a better death that fill my in-box is this recent promotion for a high-profile event dedicated to remembrance: “…embracing our roots,… Read More

Keening: “To Publicly Display, Articulate & Channel the Grief of a Community”

Among the phrases I hear most often in my work as a funeral celebrant is,  “I don’t want anyone to be sad.” Among the most common sounds at a burial service: silence. Only rarely do I hear the bereaved… Read More

Skeletons Out of the Closet: Body Farms & Final Wishes

How a young widow honored her husband’s unusual wishes, and her quest to find other young, widowed parents Nicaraguan-born Frank Omier was a gifted artist who lived and painted all over the world. His wife Emily thought she… Read More

On “The Japanese Art of Grieving a Miscarriage”

As one who knows the grief of a pregnancy aborted and attempt after unsuccessful attempt at conception, I wasn’t surprised to receive a NY Times piece on the topic from a half-dozen people. It’s no wonder The Japanese Art… Read More

Let’s Talk: “One Man’s Quest to Change the Way We Die”

This NY Times Magazine profile is generating lots of buzz. Why now? BJ Miller’s TED Talk, “What really matters at the end of life,” has garnered more than 5 million views since early 2015. And now a NYT profile… Read More

One Year Ago October 17th

One year ago, on October 17, we gathered 500 strong for a day-long event we called Death:OK (Let’s Talk About It). From my reflections, two weeks later: Keynoter Stephen Jenkinson alerted us to “Coping, hoping, and – when all… Read More

Death: An Oral History

Portland journalist Casey Jarman is winning praise for his eclectic collection of interviews, including one with yours truly. Of all the conversations I’ve had amidst the current crest of death talk, the one I had with Casey stood out: wide-open,… Read More