Skeletons Out of the Closet: Body Farms & Final Wishes

Emily with the skull she gifted her husband on their final Christmas (credit: Steve Duin, The Oregonian)
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 knew the perfect present to get him for Christmas. As she told The Oregonian, “I was going to get him an easel. He wanted a skull, instead.” Read More

Jan 29 Workshop: Earth Altars for Troubled Times

Spaces still available!

MorningAltars founder Day Schildkret. Click image to see more of his earth altars.

Start the new year with MorningAltars founder Day Schildkret & Life-Cycle Celebrant Holly Pruett for a day of beauty-making to honor the darkest season and the grief of these troubled times.

Date: Sun., Jan. 29, 2017, 10am-4pm. Tickets via Eventbrite.
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Upcoming PDX Death Cafes

10408964_632028156916619_6709640710392744152_nWe’re pleased to partner with a range of local hosts to offer Death Cafés at a variety of locations around town. There is no fee to attend (donations gratefully accepted) but registration is required for these upcoming Cafes:

Sun, March 5, 2-4pm PDX Death Café at First Unitarian Church

Sun, March 19, 2-4pm PDX Death Café at Pine St. Sangha

Read more about PDX Death Cafe.

On “The Japanese Art of Grieving a Miscarriage”

Jizo figure, Great Vow Zen Monastery, Clatskanie, OR; NPR photo by Deena Prichep

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 of Grieving a Miscarriage has hit a nerve: our dominant culture in the US has little willingness to see this face of grief.

In the Times essay, the American author describes the ceremonial vacuum she and her husband experienced when her 10-week-old pregnancy ended. “We knew miscarriage was common. But why wasn’t there anything people did when it happened? ‘If only there were some kind of tradition.…’” Read More

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

Credit: New York Times

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 of this man with the remarkable survival story is striking a nerve. As the piece gets shared on Facebook from page to page, what does it tell us about the times we live in, the culture it reflects?

“To be human is really hard”

The day before my Dad’s craniotomy for his fatal brain cancer, his surgeon said to me, “Don’t worry, little girl.” I was nearly 40. “We’ll fix your Dad right up.” How much different might our family’s experience have been with a doctor like BJ Miller? Read More