I've lost track of how many conversations I've had with complete strangers about death, funerals, human mortality, etc., over the years, once they learn about my background.
Typically, there's an awkward silence after I answer the question, "And what do you do for a living?" Sometimes there's a barely audible intake of breath or perhaps an involuntary widening of the eyes, but usually there's just silence. After a few seconds, he or she then smiles broadly, leans forward and says: "Hey! I've always wanted to ask you guys something..."
Based on these experiences, I firmly believe that most people don't have a problem discussing the inevitable, provided the setting is casual/comfortable. A hospital ER? No way. Sharing a flight to Vegas? Oh yeah.
This is the concept underlying a "death café" -- a safe environment where people gather to discuss dying and death with each other. I encourage you to attend such an event in your community if the chance arises.
Would you attend a death café if one were offered in your community? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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