10. Many intelligent, successful and otherwise responsible
people have no will, no advanced care directive and in
general have made no legal provision for their death,
(much less an emotional one) even after hearing stories
about the chaos and costs of dying in such a manner.
11. Story: As his wife lay comatose and dying,
a man whispered in her ear: “I love you;
please, please, please don’t leave me.” She
miraculously recovered and lived 10 more
years. “I will never forgive you for that,” she
told him. “I was ready to go and you pulled
12. For many of us, secular life has isolated us from rituals,
customs and community that could have supported us
before, during and after a death.
13. For many of us, faith in some logically unprovable spiritual
belief is a real source of comfort.
14. Unfinished business
is gasoline sprayed on
15. Parents sometimes want to hide death from their children.
But most children, early on, want to know about death.
16. Each loss can be all the losses that preceded it.
17. Though many of our institutions have failed us grievously
(pun intended) a shining example of success is hospice.
18. Some doctors at Death Café view the death of their
patients as their personal failure. Hence their resistance
to talking about death with patients.
19. Many people who think they
want extreme medical efforts at
resuscitation change their minds
when they hear the facts about
20. Some people tire of caring for an elderly relative, and
simply drop them off at a hospital emergency room.
21. Story: “I looked at him and saw a disabled, confused and
ailing person. He clung to life for his own reasons. I saw
no reason for him to live. He was right and I was wrong.
He gets to decide what quality of life is acceptable.”
22. Often, modern medicine
simply prolongs biological
signs of life when there is in
fact no life left.
23. Very few of us have actually seen a person die. Some
who have, report it as a transformative, even magical
24. Think of all the rituals we have surrounding birth and
other life transitions. Too often we hide death and the
feelings about it.
25. Estranged siblings often compound and confuse their
grief upon the death of a parent.
26. Some hoard possessions of a dead loved one, sometimes
for decades. Others get rid of everything, immediately.
27. Money and grief ignite
spontaneously when mixed.
28. So many people say nothing because they don’t
know what to say. They miss that they need not
speak, only listen.
29. Suicide is an act that we cannot help but project upon.
30. Sudden, unexpected death is deep, personal trauma for
31. Some people report that
they never stop grieving,
but that they get used to it.
32. Others report they never get used to it.
33. Grief after a miscarriage is often kept secret, and so those
who do so grieve alone with little or no support.
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