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

No Crying in Front of Her

Earlier this month my news feed filled with the headline Terminally ill woman holds party before ending her life. As someone who believes in the importance of funeral and bereavement ceremonies, I was intrigued by how Betsy Davis, a… Read More

“Living With” Death, Not Just “Coping With”

As with many of you, my Facebook feed and email in-box are full of the new wave of memes, articles, and programs relating to death, dying, and grief. Coming off a year of four very personal deaths, I’ve… Read More

After Orlando: Community Memorials

Google “public response to Orlando shooting” and you’ll get a long list of hits about Trump’s offensive response to the massacre at the gay nightclub and the quagmire of gun legislation. But my Facebook feed was full of the… Read More

Rituals of Remembrance 4

“Rituals are cairns marking the path behind us and ahead of us. Without them we lose our way.”  Robert Fulghum How do we keep a seat at the banquet table of our lives for those no longer living? What… Read More