Let’s Have Dinner & Talk About Death [Kickstarter of the Week]

I didn’t talk about it much, but over the past month I lost two close family members in 48 hours. My grandmother passed away on Mother’s Day and my wife Kate’s grandmother passed away 2 days later. Neither was expected. As you might imagine, it was a crushing week (and following month) for our family. And now not a day goes by that I don’t think about them. More importantly, I’ve had a real chance to reflect on their lives — for which I wouldn’t change a thing — AND their deaths…for which I would change a lot.

In the USA in particular — but in many of the countries I’m familiar with — we don’t do well with death. We don’t talk about it enough, we don’t like to think about it and, consequently, as a culture we don’t do well with arguably the most important part of our lives…the final chapter. Did you know that 75% of people say that they would prefer to die at home, but only 25% end up doing so? Did you know that end of life expense is the number one reason for bankruptcy in the US? This is not dignity. This is terrible.

And that is the point of this kickstarter campaign by my dear friend Michael Hebb. We’ve done loads of collaborations together, like SongsForEatingAndDrinking, where we’ve hosted the likes of Macklemore and Pearl Jam guys and many others. I know the power of conversation around a meal – and have experienced the power of action rising up from the table. If anyone can start the movement to talk about death that will change our current approach, it’s Hebb. Michael, plus the University of Washington’s Masters of Communication Learning program, an interactive firm CIVILIZATION, Engage with Grace and some of the nation’s leading health and wellness organizations are working to fully launch their www.deathoverdinner.org, a project which will hope to jumpstart the national dialogue on how we End our Lives.

I encourage you all to join me in supporting it here. Much thanks and love.

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12 Responses to Let’s Have Dinner & Talk About Death [Kickstarter of the Week]

  1. chadwickray June 28, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    This is an awesome thing! I wish that I could be apart of it, and if I can muster up a few extra finances (recently been laid off on my Post-Production job), then I would. Having grown up with a Grandfather who was a funeral director, I learned so much of how people feel at the end of their life and what they looked back on. Also how their families were then burdened with so much financial issues alongside their natural grief. This is a great conversation piece that I would love so much to be a part of. Thanks for sharing.

    • Chase June 28, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

      thanks chadwick. every dollar helps!

      • Dr Ilene Naomi Rusk August 1, 2013 at 6:41 am #

        Dear Chase
        Lovely efforts and what a sincere friend you are! I’m part of movement where I live to change the culture and conversation about death and dying. We’ve had such enthusiasm and have thought to bring the converstion to the dinner table! It is myself and another doctor. I’d like to collaborate with Michael. Best way to involve him or the project is ???
        Please connect me with him or the work.
        Best, Naomi

  2. karenjohanson June 28, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    So sorry about your losses, Chase – I had two major losses in two years, and that was crushing. I can only imagine the impact when it happens in two days. And thanks for sharing about Death Over Dinner – everyone in America (and worldwide) would be better off if we could talk more openly and honestly about death and how it impacts the dying, their friends and family.

  3. eric June 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Death is part of Life Cycle. It should be celebrated just like Birth. Celebrate their Lives Chase.

    • Chase June 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

      definitely doing that eric! they were both awesome ladies – and we’ve raised more than one glass in their names ;)

  4. Faisal June 29, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    I think such issues are not so heightened in Asian countries.

  5. D.Lisa June 29, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    This year I lost both a good friend and my mother, so far. We are so not ready for any death conversation in the USA. She said,”at least I won’t run out of money” when she found out how little time she had left. My mom wanted to die at home, and did. Hospice was great, and not at all what I expected.

    Sorry for your losses, Chase.

  6. Nathan July 1, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    That’s very sad. So sorry.

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