Death Talk by the Numbers
Nearly 4 years ago I co-founded PDX Death Café. Since then, I’ve led or supported 43 Death Cafés – and now I’m mentoring a leadership team that’s recruited a cohort of 2-dozen committed facilitators.
Following the sold-out 500-person Death:OK (Let’s Talk About It) conference in October, 2015, I founded the Death Talk Project. Now 9 months since its debut, we have an email list of 2000 and combined Facebook “Likes” (across 6 pages) of 4100 – and have gotten countless notes of appreciation & encouragement 🙂
I’ve hosted 23 nights at the movies in partnership with Peace Films & the Clinton Street Theater, with our 2017 line-up ready to roll. I’ve fielded at least 3-dozen inquiries about “how to get into this work” and launched a new monthly informational interview session to respond to this demand.
In 2016 I did 9 speaking engagements, produced 6 workshops, guested on 5 podcasts & blogs, and had my work featured in 1 book chapter & 2 newspaper articles. I created, led, or consulted on 20 funerals, memorials, and other ceremonies of transition or remembrance; and I helped 5 people with arrangements for their eventual demise. I published 10 monthly newsletters cross-promoting community events, offered conversation-starters in “Let’s Talk” posts, and featured 5 bibliographies & 12 important resource organizations on the Death Talk Project Resources Page.
At the end of 2017 I would love to add to these numbers a broad base of community partners pledging through Patreon to keep this work going. Cumulative contributions of $500 per month will enable me to:
- mentor the next generation of Death Café facilitators
- continue hosting our monthly movie and discussion night
- promote useful, honest dialogue on-line and through the media about how we die, how we mourn, and how we care for and remember our dead
To keep myself tuned up for this community work, I’ve invested in 3 years of study at Stephen Jenkinson’s Orphan Wisdom School; participated in quarterly trainings with the Northwest Association for Death Education & Bereavement Support; taken a 6-week class on dying through the lens of arts and literature; and successfully sat for a 3-hour exam to earn the credential of Certified Thanatologist.
Thank you for all the ways you’re counting yourself among those seeking and supporting useful, honest Death Talk.