Tucson Friendly & Fearless Death Cafe
A man was at the hospital with his wife who was nearing her departure. The circumstances of being at a hospital undergoing interventions were distressing and unwanted. The couple had imagined a peaceful passing at home. A nurse asked the man where his family was, and he replied they were all at the hospital. The nurse then said, “Home is where your family is.” This story was shared at a recent Café.
All the more poignant now, as even this – in the era of Covid – is denied. We thank all the hospitals, staff, emergency workers and caregivers for doing all they can to unite loved ones, and in their absence, to be present in love for us.
This also reminds us to tell the people who have mattered in our lives that we appreciate them. If we are feeling there is something left undone it might help to remember that the benefit of addressing it is for us. It might be far better to blunder and try, no matter how it is received, than live with regret, remorse, and what could have been. There is no time like the present. Love and freedom have no limitations.
Highlights from our conversations on culture and death included Jacob Blake’s mother Julia Jackson’s powerful speech, and 12 year old Yolanda Renee King, Martin Luther King’s granddaughter’s speech in which she said, “Great challenges produce great generations…. Now we must master ourselves.” Many of us were spellbound watching poet Brandon Leake, the first ever poet on America’s Got Talent, perform a riveting spoken word piece. NPR aired a conversation with authors of “Red State Christians” and, “White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity.” This brought to mind the vital importance of what feels like a personal responsibility, to seek to understand our history, and to examine the roots of our beliefs. In so doing, we can invite the possibility of compassion, growth, and change.
In the area of popular media we shared about 2 series, “Delicious,” and “Grace and Frankie,” both of which have episodes where terminally ill characters throw themselves a life celebration party and (spoiler) may or may not choose their own death. The 2019 series “The Gift” was mentioned for it’s life, death, and quantum physics themes as was the series “Devs.” We revisited some classics, “Harold and Maude,” 1971, “Six Feet Under,” 2001, and “Departures,” 2008. We talked about what to say and how to say the “right” thing when others are experiencing loss, and the book “The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages,” by Leo Buscaglia was remembered as a lovely offering. In the after life/death category, praise went out to “Soul Light: Connection Between Worlds,” by Janna Excell.
Sharing our stories from the most challenging and difficult times in our lives, while facing death, may not fix, answer, or solve anything, but can illuminate and bring immense beauty and solace. As always, I sincerely appreciate the Death Café movement, and all our Café participants.
(Note: this is actually a write-up for Cafe's on 7-26 & 8-2-2020. Every Cafe is so wonderfully rich and it's a lot to keep up with posting weekly!)