A Bittersweet Paradox: Talking about Death is Talking about Life

I am honored that Maria Shriver’s blog invited me to guest blog last week.  Her philosophy that “by sharing our worlds, we help one another make our lives matter” resonates with me.




I have received wonderful responses from the post which further confirms my belief that people are thinking about death & dying and ultimately they do want to talk about it, but just not sure where, when, or how.  During my Gatherings we talk about why our society doesn’t talk openly about death & dying.  Overall the responses are fascinating and varied in the way they are expressed, but yet a few common themes emerge: “Fear/anxiety/denial/vulnerability”, “We don’t want to seem morbid, depressed, or negative”, “We are afraid that if we talk about it, death will happen, we’ll be tempting fate”, and “Talking about death and dying is too emotional and personal”.  However, at the Gatherings when we discuss why we should talk openly about death & dying the list grows long, because there are so very many reasons: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, financial, relational, societal, generational, and universal reasons!

In our culture, we spend a great deal of time defining “living well.” Let’s learn together what it means to “die well.” Let’s lean into the paradox, lean into the tension between wanting to talk about death and not wanting to talk about death.  Talking about death is talking about life.