Death Over Dinner
Posted by Kathy Digan
Our organization is among several health leaders who are committed to a mission: Breaking the taboo about discussing end-of-life issues.
While our staff makes efforts every day to help people in our community share their advance directives with loved ones, we also recently teamed up with Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being this fall to host "Death Over Dinner." This program, which was born out of a separate conference hosted with Repogle last year, is designed to inspire people to talk about often-shunned subjects ― death and the dying proces
Despite its provocative name, the program is not meant to be morbid. Instead, it is a very human event where we consider what we want, both in life and during its closure. Through sharing our thoughts and feelings on this subject, we can more readily move through our fears, shed inhibitions, and forge deeper understanding and connections with our loved ones.
I was so pleased to be a part of a "Death Over Dinner" in September. It was such a moving evening and one of my fellow attendees, Gail, wrote this note that I believe sums it up perfectly:
"Thank you for an evening to remember. Not knowing what to expect at the beginning... I did not want to leave at the end.
You all made it possible for a group of people to come together as strangers and leave as friends. The sharing, caring, openness and honesty that flowed at my 'table' was incredible.
Beautiful women, each with her own story, leaned into the stories of others with grace, dignity and wisdom. I was deeply touched and moved to tears by this experience.
As a therapist, counselor, teacher, mother, woman, caregiver, wife, friend there is little to no space for ME to be vulnerable, open and honest about my pain and grief and thoughts of death and dying.
The safe space you created gives me the opportunity to share the truth of who I am and, most essential of all, to be understood.
I look forward to being a small part of this creation and thank each of you for welcoming me with open arms and warm hearts. Beautiful people ... all."
I am so honored to be part of this group, and part of an organization that helps our patients and their families live each day to the very fullest.
For details on Death Over Dinner, visit www.deathoverdinner.org. For details on our upcoming programs for the public, including "Why Should I Care About Palliative Care" on Oct. 21, visit www.carecenter.org/community/events.