A wonderful start to 2024 Tucson Death Cafés!


At our virtual meeting we talked a lot about the big goodbye to our beloved animal companions. I was led to use a tapestry of what I think of as the puppy homegoing that day, and one of our attendees had recently lost her beloved dog. In trying to write about this, I had to give up after a dozen tissues and tears blurred my vision. It’s very common to experience the loss of our animal companions as far harder than that of our human friends. The more we can talk about all of our losses with great opportunities like Death Cafes, a lot of things, like strangeness, guilt, shame, and confusions can potentially lessen as we realize we are not alone.


We shared creative ways of remembrance, like paw print garden stones, locks of fur, memorial walls, and mourning jewelry. We acknowledged the metaphysical (beyond physical) reality that we often feel/see/know the presence of those that have died as they continue to journey with us in new ways. We discussed the real challenges of making the decision to let go of our animal friends and how to do that – to face that overwhelming heartbreaking moment. As Winnie the Pooh said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”


Our first since the pandemic in person Café was a big success. On the coldest day of the year friendly faces from the past reappeared and several new people attended, including one brave soul who drove down from Phoenix! It was wonderful to see everyone.


We met on January 8th which is a day of remembrance for Tucson. In 2011, a gunman appeared in a supermarket parking lot where a rally for then U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was being held. Six people died, including 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, and 13 were wounded. One Café attendee shared that she very likely would have been at that rally if she hadn’t happened to be out of town that day. In the years that have followed, Tucson has commemorated this day in many ways. There is “Embrace,” a large downtown public sculpture, and a city park, hiking trails, and gardens bear the names of those lost. It was good to be able to speak our thoughts and feelings about that tragic day that changed our town, the world, and so many lives forever.


As always, the strong sentiment was voiced that if we could only do this more, talk about death freely, perhaps everything related to it would be less awkward. Being able to have these important conversations that affect all of us could lead to productive re-envisioning and progress in our social and cultural institutions, laws and such, improving the ways in which we can care for ourselves in our dying and deaths. Diverse topics were talked about among the small groups and I’ll share one story I found quite funny. A fellow had been admitted into hospice and was, at some point, being encouraged to “follow the light.” As the story goes, he loudly proclaimed, “fuck the light!” and proceeded to wildly live another 2 years.


Blessings all and thank you for turning out for our 3D in person reunion 11th birthday party. Hope to see you again and please freely share the meeting info with your friends. We know it’s a great way to start a good conversation!

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