Death Cafe profile for Merilynne Rush


Location: United States

http://afterdeathhomecare.com/

About Merilynne Rush:

In 35 years of professional life I have been helping people make empowering choices concerning their health care and death, specifically as a home birth midwife, hospice nurse, home funeral guide, and end-of-life doula trainer. Through these experiences I have witnessed the benefit of walking through, rather than around, profound emotion. Facilitating the Ann Arbor Death Cafe is a natural outgrowth of this work.

I'm working on a Master's of Science degree in Hospice and Palliative Studies. I hold a B.A. in Humanities and Women’s Studies and a B.S. in Nursing. I have lived and volunteered in Central America and I speak fluent Spanish. My husband and I have raised two children and have three grandchildren.


What brings you to Death Cafe?

When I first heard of Death Cafe in 2012 I was immediately drawn to it as a natural next step. I had been hosting a home funeral study group for 2 years and had wanted to change the format to an ongoing monthly meeting at a regular time and place. In addition, whenever I gave presentations about natural death care, people always wanted to hang around and talk about their experiences with death; we just don't have enough opportunity to do that! So, I talked with Jon in November of 2012 and held the first Ann Arbor Death Cafe that month. We have been meeting monthly ever since, making us the longest standing, regularly held Death Cafe in the world. We were the third one in the USA. Over the years, Jon and I have consulted several times, whenever I, and sometimes when he, had an issue and decision to make about Death Cafe. I appreciated his wisdom, guidance, honesty, selflessness, and quick response every time. I deeply feel his loss and miss him and pass on my love to his family.


What would you like your legacy to be?

To be remembered as an honest, courageous, loving person.


Thoughts for sharing:

From Jon, in response to a problem I had at an early Death Cafe:

“It's good to listen to other people but as the facilitator of this event I would always suggest listening to your heart.” 

 


Contact Merilynne Rush



Merilynne Rush's posts on the Death Cafe website


Death Cafe write up: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on July 17, 2017, 9:14 a.m.

Very moving discussion with so many present who had had a recent, profound loss. We also discussed our gratitude for Jon Underwood and the impact of his work world-wide. Questions and thoughts:

Is there a connection between our own physical symptoms and someone's death? For example, someone having very low blood pressure while, unbeknownst to him, his mother was dying?

How do we connect to those who have passed? Sometimes we get signs from them immediately and sometimes it takes a few months for signs to appear. 

What do we learn from near-death experiences? Many of us have had them, not alwasy in the dramatic form we ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 7, 2017, 10:48 a.m.



With Ann Arbor Death Cafe team

Jan. 20, 2018, 10.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. (EST)

free


The Ann Arbor Death Cafe meets monthly, same time same place, for great conversation about life and death. Each month we have a good mix of newcomers and returning participants ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 7, 2017, 10:47 a.m.



With Ann Arbor Death Cafe team

Dec. 16, 2017, 10.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. (EST)

free


The Ann Arbor Death Cafe meets monthly, same time same place, for great conversation about life and death. Each month we have a good mix of newcomers and returning participants ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 7, 2017, 10:47 a.m.



With Ann Arbor Death Cafe team

Nov. 18, 2017, 10.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. (EST)

free


The Ann Arbor Death Cafe meets monthly, same time same place, for great conversation about life and death. Each month we have a good mix of newcomers and returning participants ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 7, 2017, 10:47 a.m.



With Ann Arbor Death Cafe team

Oct. 21, 2017, 10.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. (EST)

free


The Ann Arbor Death Cafe meets monthly, same time same place, for great conversation about life and death. Each month we have a good mix of newcomers and returning participants ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 7, 2017, 10:46 a.m.



With Ann Arbor Death Cafe team

Sept. 16, 2017, 10.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. (EST)

free


The Ann Arbor Death Cafe meets monthly, same time same place, for great conversation about life and death. Each month we have a good mix of newcomers and returning participants ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 7, 2017, 10:46 a.m.



With Ann Arbor Death Cafe team

Aug. 19, 2017, 10.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. (EST)

free


The Ann Arbor Death Cafe meets monthly, same time same place, for great conversation about life and death. Each month we have a good mix of newcomers and returning participants ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 7, 2017, 10:46 a.m.



With Ann Arbor Death Cafe team

July 15, 2017, 10.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. (EST)

free


The Ann Arbor Death Cafe meets monthly, same time same place, for great conversation about life and death. Each month we have a good mix of newcomers and returning participants ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 7, 2017, 10:46 a.m.



With Ann Arbor Death Cafe team

June 17, 2017, 10.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. (EST)

free


The Ann Arbor Death Cafe meets monthly, same time same place, for great conversation about life and death. Each month we have a good mix of newcomers and returning participants ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 7, 2017, 10:45 a.m.



With Ann Arbor Death Cafe team

May 20, 2017, 10.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. (EST)

free


The Ann Arbor Death Cafe meets monthly, same time same place, for great conversation about life and death. Each month we have a good mix of newcomers and returning participants ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 7, 2017, 10:45 a.m.



With Ann Arbor Death Cafe team

April 15, 2017, 10.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. (EST)

free


The Ann Arbor Death Cafe meets monthly, same time same place, for great conversation about life and death. Each month we have a good mix of newcomers and returning participants ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 7, 2017, 10:44 a.m.



With Ann Arbor Death Cafe team

March 18, 2017, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

free


The Ann Arbor Death Cafe meets monthly, same time same place, for great conversation about life and death. Each month we have a good mix of newcomers and returning participants ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 7, 2017, 10:43 a.m.



With Ann Arbor Death Cafe team

Feb. 18, 2017, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

free



The Ann Arbor Death Cafe meets monthly, same time same place, for great conversation about life and death. Each month we have a good mix of newcomers and returning participants ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on May 13, 2015, 8:04 a.m.



With Merilynne Rush and Diana Cramer

May 16, 2015, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

free


Death Cafe is good for us all! At the end of a discussion, participants say they feel uplifted, encouraged, alive, informed, aware, connected, peaceful... The list goes on. Come find ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 17, 2015, 8:47 a.m.



With Diana Cramer and Merilynne Rush

Feb. 21, 2015, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

free


We hope you'll join us!



New Blog post: Death Cafe Can’t Change the World

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 4, 2015, 2:39 p.m. 2 comments


Yesterday in class, during a discussion about full code/no code in the ICU, I found myself saying that Death Cafe can’t change the world.  Then everyone added, “Alone.” Death Cafe alone can’t change the world.  It provides a forum for people outside of the hospital, outside of a crisis situation, who are thinking ahead, idealistically and perhaps unrealistically, about what they would want in an ICU scene.  But in the ICU scene ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Dec. 17, 2014, 1:20 p.m.



With Diana Cramer and Merilynne Rush

Dec. 20, 2014, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

free


We hope you'll join us!



Death Cafe write up: Ann Arbor Death Cafe 2nd Birthday

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Dec. 8, 2014, 9:21 p.m.


On 11/15/14, the Ann Arbor Death Cafe celebrated our 2nd anniversary--making us the longest standing regularly meeting group! Facilitators Merilynne and Diana brought a birthday cake, complete with candles and balloon.  

While we were glad to celebrate the anniversary, we also bore witness to grief and loss.  One person was grieving a recent, unexpected death.  Another shared her terminal cancer diagnosis.

When the discussion turned to the meaning of life and the afterlife, we had a wonderful diversity of beliefs, ranging from the conviction that each life has a special purpose to the belief that it all adds up to nothing.
 
A typical death cafe?  You ...


Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe 2nd Birthday

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Dec. 8, 2014, 3:23 p.m.



With Diana Cramer and Merilynne Rush

Nov. 15, 2014, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

free


Our group is going strong after two years and we invite you to join us.  There is no agenda - it's all about what you want to talk about.  The ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Oct. 6, 2014, 11:49 a.m.



With Diana Cramer and Merilynne Rush

Oct. 18, 2014, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

free


Our group is going strong after two years and we invite you to join us.  There is no agenda - it's all about what you want to talk about.  The ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Sept. 10, 2014, 7:55 p.m.



With Merilynne Rush

Sept. 20, 2014, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

free


Come join us for casual conversation and good listening about a subject that affects us all.  I always leave feeling uplifted.  There is something very real and assuring about sharing ...



Press: Death Cafes and the Suffering of Patients with Cancer

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Aug. 1, 2014, 1:51 a.m. 1 comment


Death Cafes and the Suffering of Patients with Cancer

Daneil Hinshaw recently attended a Death Cafe I hosted, along with the Social Work Department, at a local hospital.  He wrote an excellent blog post about it which I think is really worth the read, including the following discussion, to which Lizzy adds.

ASCO Connection: http://connection.asco.org/Commentary/Article/id/3833/Death-Cafes-and-the-Suffering-of-Patients-with-Cancer-.aspx#Comment1711

Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on July 14, 2014, 8:49 a.m.


With Diana Cramer

July 19, 2014, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

free


This is a temporary location change due to Ann Arbor Art Fair.  August 16 we will be back in downtown Ann Arbor at Crazy Wisdom Bookstore.

All are welcome!



Death Cafe write up: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on June 23, 2014, 10:54 a.m. 1 comment

We had a particularly wonderful cafe last Saturday.  Eighteen people attended and most (13) were there for the first time. Here's the follow up email I sent out to those who attended:

Dear Friends,

 
Thank you so much for coming to Death Cafe on Saturday.  It was a particularly wonderful cafe.  I hope you'll come back.
 
Diana has cleared up some information about DNR, or Do Not Resuscitate, orders.  I'm passing this on below.
 
The link to the movie Choosing to Die is here.  I guess you can watch it in full on YouTube.  Thanks for bringing that up, Linda.
 
Ele's Place is the ...


Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on June 17, 2014, 9:08 a.m.



With Merilynne Rush

June 21, 2014, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

Free


If you haven't committed "death by chocolate" on Valentine's Day, join us!  You'll be glad you did.

There is no topic or lecture; it's all you ...



Death Cafe write up: Death Cafe Teleconference

Posted by Merilynne Rush on March 10, 2014, 3:38 p.m.

The Teleconference went really well.  We managed to have a great, polite and meaningful conversation even though we couldn't see each other!  I'm really glad we did it.

 

What we talked about:
  • The importance of planning ahead
  • How can we make burial green(er):  Education, Advocacy and Advance Planning (conference flier attached)
  • How to start a Death Cafe (Practice your elevator speech, garner support, approach the media)
  • How to run a death cafe (Small groups, discussion starter questions, etc.)
  • How to sell a pre-purchased niche at a cemetery (Call the cemetery and good luck!)
  • Discomfort dealing with illness and loss and death (see about NPR spot ...


Death Cafe: Death Cafe Teleconference

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 12, 2014, 9:49 a.m.



With Merilynne Rush

March 5, 2014, 7.00 p.m. - 8.00 p.m. (EST)

free


You must RSVP so I can send you the call-in number and instructions.  



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 1, 2014, 10:17 a.m.


With Merilynne Rush

Feb. 15, 2014, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

Free


If you haven't committed "death by chocolate" on Valentine's Day, join us!  You'll be glad you did.

There is no topic or lecture; it's all you ...



Death Cafe write up: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Feb. 1, 2014, 9:24 a.m.


Death Cafe has gotten so good that I really look forward to it each month.  I'd like to personally invite more people in the healthcare professions.  So many of you talk about the frustration of not being able to talk about death at work or with clients.  I hope that together we can increase the number of dining room table conversations - at work, at worship, with children, with parents, with staff, with friends.  When we wait to talk about death until we need to, we don't.  Or it becomes so weighty that we are overcome.  You're invited to the conversation!



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Jan. 14, 2014, 3:27 p.m.



With Merilynne Rush

Jan. 18, 2014, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

Free


This Death Cafe is loosely facilitated to allow for maximum participation of those who wish to share.  Merilynne's desire to host death cafe grew out of her  experience leading ...



Death Cafe write up: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Dec. 2, 2013, 12:06 p.m.

At our most recent death cafe we had 17 people plus one couple who did not come expecting to find us.  The woman pulled up a chair, sat down and joined right in the conversation.  However, the man said he was not interested but stodd by her side.  He ended up staying and talking the most.

Death conversation happens, whether you think so or not!

Have you seen the recent Showtime series Time of Death?  I've heard its really good.  You can watch the first episode for free.

Hot topics at the November 16 Ann Arbor Death Cafe:

What do you do with your stuff when you ...



Death Cafe write up: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Nov. 29, 2013, 11:21 a.m.

Hi, everyone.  Our last Death Cafe was wonderful.  We even had a couple who didn't plan to attend but joined us anyway.  The man remainded standing the whole time because he "wasn't really interested in the topic" but he ended up talking the most :)

Death talk happens, whether you accept it or not!

Have you seen "Time of Death" - the new Showtime documentary?  The first one is free.  I've heard it's really good and talks about natural death care. http://www.sho.com/sho/time-of-death/home#

What happens with your stuff when you die?  Your facebook page is still active, you know.

What do ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Nov. 29, 2013, 11:12 a.m.



With Diana Cramer

Dec. 21, 2013, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

Free


This Death Cafe is loosely facilitated to allow for maximum participation of those who wish to share.  Merilynne's desire to host death cafe grew out of her  experience leading ...



Press: Ann Arbor has its own Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Nov. 4, 2013, 5 p.m. 1 comment


Ann Arbor has its own Death Cafe

Death Cafe facilitator Merilynne Rush talks about Death Cafe on National Public Radio.

NPR: http://michiganradio.org/post/ann-arbor-has-its-own-death-cafe

Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Oct. 25, 2013, 4:28 p.m.



With Merilynne Rush

Nov. 16, 2013, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

$1.00 donation to cover room costs on occasion


This Death Cafe is loosely facilitated to allow for maximum participation of those who wish to share.  Merilynne's desire to host death cafe grew out of her  experience leading ...



Press: Detroit Monthly covers Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Oct. 9, 2013, 9:45 a.m.


Detroit Monthly covers Ann Arbor Death Cafe

The October issue of HOUR Detroit, our biggest monthly, contains a great article by Jennifer Xu about Death Cafe.  Visit http://www.hourdetroit.com/Hour-Detroit/October-2013/A-Matter-of-Mortality/ to read all about it.

HOUR Detroit October 2013: http://www.hourdetroit.com/Hour-Detroit/October-2013/A-Matter-of-Mortality

Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Oct. 6, 2013, 4:17 p.m.



With Merilynne Rush

Oct. 19, 2013, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

$1.00 donation to cover room costs on occasion


This Death Cafe is loosely facilitated to allow for maximum participation of those who wish to share.  Merilynne's desire to host death cafe grew out of her  experience leading ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Sept. 19, 2013, 11:02 a.m.


With Merilynne Rush

Aug. 17, 2013, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

free


18 people attended!  That's our largest group yet.   Death Cafe in Michigan is getting more publicity due to recent articles and radio spots and more are coming out in ...



Death Cafe: Ann Arbor Death Cafe

Posted by Merilynne Rush on Sept. 19, 2013, 10:37 a.m.



With Merilynne Rush

Sept. 21, 2013, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. (EST)

$1.00 donation to cover room costs on occasion


This Death Cafe is loosely facilitated to allow for maximum participation of those who wish to share.  Merilynne's desire to host death cafe grew out of her  experience leading ...





Contact Merilynne Rush

captcha