Tucson Friendly & Fearless Death Cafe BLOG
“I always come away feeling more alive,” proclaimed a Death Café attendee. Kudos to the Café movement for opening space for the paradox of death and all the wild richness it brings to life!
Reflecting on the fact that her father was a Holocaust victim, one woman spoke of her wish for peace in her own death. As we know only too well with chaotic events, natural disasters, war, violence, pandemics, the possibility for peace in death may escape us. I wonder if spiritual traditions that “practice death” do so not only to affirm life and lessen fear while living, but also simply to have that experience of deep peace now.
A participant joining in from the Netherlands posed this wonderful query, “How much should we talk about death?” She explained she’s creating a game to help older aged immigrants from Turkey, Morocco, and China coming to the Netherlands access conversation about important end of life issues. As we mused about the question, we shared that familial influences and our experiences or lack thereof of death bear on the answer. What is normative or offered from our culture, such as programs in healthcare systems, was identified as playing a strong role in perceptions. As an example, it was described that in China, the cultural rituals of death are very important, while less attention is given to practical aspects. I hope our Netherland friend returns to share about the progress of this fascinating and so needed project.
This week in our diverse media area we talked about these titles, “The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World,” by Jacqueline Novogratz, “The Violence Inside Us: A Brief History of an Ongoing American Tragedy,” by Chris Murphy, and “The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully,” by Joan Chittister. In the movies, Spike Lee’s newest, “Da 5 Bloods,” set in the Vietnam War era, was mentioned. Post Café I’m adding, “Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and It’s Urgent Lessons for Our Own,” by Eddie S. Gluade Jr. Professor Gluade gave an interview on PBS and when asked what he thought James Baldwin’s wisdom for our time would be he said, “Tell the truth as much as we can bear and then a little more; Bear witness, make the suffering real for those who willfully ignore it; Create the conditions to imagine ourselves otherwise.” I find those thoughts very powerful and can see how they can be applied in so many ways such as having courageous conversations about death.