A Conversation on Death

Sponsored by the UUSR Adult Education Committee


From an article on NPR: “We live knowing that everything dies. Like the sun, it’s a fact of life. And like the sun, we tend not to look right at it. Unless you’ve experienced a recent death, it’s probably not something you discuss. But a new movement is trying to change that, with a serving of tea and cake. The fear of death haunts us like nothing else. And it makes sense. All other fears — such as public speaking, centipedes and heights — pale in comparison. So, we don’t really talk about it.”

However, the Adult Education Committee has been asked periodically over the past year to hold discussions on death. After a great deal of exploration of what others are doing in this area, and after a visit to what is called a Death Café in Andover by a few of us from UUSR, we have decided to hold a conversation on death of our own.

Although the name may sound a little macabre, Death Cafes (Conversations on death) are springing up all over North America and Europe to discuss this often-taboo subject, because people do want to talk about it.

These events last for one or two hours to give participants an opportunity to discuss questions and concerns about death. Most people go to one event, but some attend two or more. The founder of the international Death Café Movement, Jon Underwood, says, “When people sit down to talk about death, the pretense kind of falls away, and people talk very openly and authentically. And they say things in front of strangers which are really profound and beautiful.”

It is important to note that these conversations are not for grief counseling or management for someone who has recently lost a loved one, but rather an opportunity to talk to whatever degree you are comfortable about your personal thoughts concerning death. Our conversation on death will be facilitated by Joe Rukeyser who will honor all persons’ own views and confidentiality.

It is our intention to ultimately join the Death Café movement and to open them to the public. This first conversation on death is open only to UUSR members and friends. ADVANCE REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED BECAUSE SPACE IS LIMITED. It will be held on September 14 – more details coming soon. In the tradition of the Death Cafés, tea and cake or cookies will be served. Please email Chuck Francis at francisway@grbcos.com for a reservation.


To see the full NPR Article which we have excerpted go to: http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=173808940. To learn about Death Cafes and how they work, go to Death Cafe.com


Another article that may be of interest from the New York Times: https://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/death-be-not-decaffeinated-over-cup-groups-face-taboo/?_r=1