The Silver Tsunami of Baby Boomers is about the crash on the shore of mortality, and they want to talk about it. Over the past 10 years, a host of death discussion movements have sprung up around the world.
In this DEAD Talk presented at the ICCFA Wide World of Sales conference, pioneering death educator Gail Rubin, CT, presents highlights of eight death discussion movements started since 2010. All of these movements are designed to promote death literacy, to normalize conversations around death and dying, and facilitate planning ahead.
She also presents three ideas for bringing conversation-starting events to funeral homes and cemeteries. Watch the video, and contact Gail to discuss holding an event in your community.
Your Customers are Discussing Death, Where are You?
The eight death discussion movements featured in this 18-minute talk are:
Dying Matters: www.DyingMatters.org
A coalition of individuals and organizations fostering conversations about death, dying and bereavement. They hold the annual Dying Matters Week during May at hundreds of locations in the UK, Scotland and Wales involving tens of thousands of participants.
Dying to Know Day: www.DyingToKnowDay.org
Now in its sixth year, Dying to Know Day is Australia’s biggest community conversation about death. Held on August 8th each year, in 2018 there were more than 550 death discussion events scheduled for that day and throughout the month of August. D2KDay promotes death literacy, normalizing conversations about death and dying, and planning ahead. Dying To Know Day by The GroundSwell Project Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Death Cafe: www.DeathCafe.com
A social franchise where individuals host get-togethers to eat, drink, and discuss death. The objective is to “increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.” Since it started in September, 2011, more than 7,500 Death Cafes have been held in 62 countries around the world (as of December 2018).
Before I Die Festivals (UK and US)
Before I Die festivals boldly take death out of the closet through a host of entertaining and engaging free or low-cost activities. These events help participants to think about, talk about, and plan for our eventual mortality.
2013: Cardiff University, Wales
2014: University of York www.BeforeIDieFestival.co.uk
2016: University of Indiana School of Nursing, Indianapolis, IN
2016: Louisville, KY www.BeforeIDieLou.com
2017: Albuquerque, NM (plus Santa Fe in 2018) www.BeforeIDieNM.com
Death Over Dinner: www.DeathOverDinner.org
The Death Over Dinner movement launched in the United States on August 24, 2013 with over 500 dinners in 20 countries on a single night. Since then there have been more than 100,000 dinners around the globe. They provide a simple set of tools to help family and friends hold difficult conversations over the comforting ritual of breaking bread.
Death Salon: www.DeathSalon.org
Death Salons are “events that bring together intellectuals and independent thinkers engaged in the exploration of our shared mortality by sharing knowledge and art.” They “aim to subvert death denial by opening up conversations with the public about death and its anthropological, historical, and artistic contributions to culture.” The annual event is run by co-founders Caitlin Doughty and Megan Rosenbloom.
Reimagine End Of Life Festivals: www.LetsReimagine.org
Reimagine End Of Life is a nonprofit organization that hosts a week of public conversations exploring life and death, living life to the fullest, and preparing for the time we won’t be here anymore. The inaugural festival in San Francisco attracted 10,000 participants to 175 free and paid events all around the Bay Area April 16-22, 2018. A New York City event held October 27 to November 3, 2018 featured 322 events, including films, comedy, music, dance, rituals and death related conversations and experiences.
End Well Symposium: www.EndWellProject.org
This one-day symposium in San Francisco brings together multiple visionary speakers on mortality and transforming how we die. It’s supported by the End Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization. The second symposium was held December 6, 20018.
About Gail Rubin, CT
Gail Rubin, Certified Thanatologist and The Doyenne of Death®, is author of three award-winning books on planning ahead for end-of-life issues. A Certified Funeral Celebrant, she is a pioneering death educator who brought the Death Café movement to the United States and coordinated the first Before I Die Festival west of the Mississippi.
A TEDxABQ speaker in 2015, Gail has spoken at two ICCFA conventions, NFDMA, Selected Independent Funeral Homes, and state FDA meetings for Texas, New Hampshire, Alabama, the Ohio Cemetery Association, the Association for Death Education and Counseling, and the California Hospice and Palliative Care Association.