Monday, 4 March 2013

Death Cafe Sonoma reportback

By Linda Siniard

One word describes our day together at Death Cafe Sonoma on February 23, 2013 – precious. We were 38 unique participants – 38 people who came together to share stories of dying, death, and grief – 38 people who found time to talk of life in our past, present, and hopeful futures.

As facilitator for the event, I was a bit anxious about how it would turn out. What if the room was too echo-ey for the NPR producer? What if there weren’t enough attendees to make it interesting? What if there were more people than chairs? Dave, my husband, created additional seating arrangements, including tables, beforehand, predicting that my assumptions were unpredictable – too little, too many, just enough? He was right. Our kitchen/cafe is best suited for about 30 people, not all talking at the same time. He thought we might need to find seats for the people who would show up at the last minute. He’s like that. And, he was right.

We talked, we laughed, we cried, and we sang. Yes, the Threshold Choir did, indeed, sing in their quiet way. And, we did what we do at Death Cafe Sonoma…we lived in the moment. We talked of dying, death, grief, and our finite (or not) life/lives. We shared resources for end-of-life planning. We drank tea and ate cake. We made friends with life and death.

Thank you, Deena Prichep, NPR producer, for being the honorable record keeper of our day. You exhibited the journalistic professionalism that all of us hope to encounter.

Thank you to JerriGrace Lyons of Final Passages for bringing your special efforts to our gathering. You and Mark will always have a table at Death Cafe Sonoma. (Someday, we’ll actually have a conversation that doesn’t include email lists, handouts, and staples!)

Thank you to Stephanie Sugars for posting our event on your blog. I was so impressed to find you among us on Saturday. You defy all of medical science, and you continue to show up in all of your charming and beautiful presence.

We’ll see you all again on Saturday, March 23, 2013. Details to come soon.


  1. I have what I believe is a new way of coping with impending losses due to death I have written a book on Amazon Kindle titled The Fianl Exchange: Passing Away With Peace and Dignity. I would like to dicuss this new insight with a member of Death Cafe as a possible helpful tool. I honestly belive this book will help those with ssues involved with fear and preperation. I can be reached at Thanks.

    1. So many good books on this subject.

      The one I found most comprehensive and helpful has been "Easy Death"

      Elisabeth Kubler Ross on Easy Death
      "An exciting, stimulating, thought-provoking book that adds immensely to the ever-increasing literature on life and death." is a confirmation that a life filled with love instead of fear can lead to ultimately meaningful life and death."

    2. Hi steveshap...first I didn't post to sell a book;don't get much from the sale; but in prrep for the topic, I felt something big was missing from the prep for a death. I found that most everyone never "unveils" themselves to their loved ones and never gets the stage to do so in their own words. The ? was: do we really ever know those that are passing or are we only left with our memories of them. Why don't we ever passionatly seek the story of of a loved one told in their own words;each life unique, each life has a unique story to leave behind. Shouldn't we invest in the time to hear thier story before they pass; a story they will write for us in their own words? Any thoughts? I can clarify if you are interested. Thanks.

  2. update to mispells; Book is titled The Final Exchange:Passing Away With Peace and Dignity

  3. Well done, everyone. I'd like to know the details for the next gathering


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