Are you afraid of dying? Why?

Death – fear of death, death of a loved one, planning for our own, rituals and traditions. These were the topics of the Curious Dinner on March 16th. 11 brave souls came in and defied the conventional norms of conversation. We moved smoothly from religion to philosophy, from prisons to euthanasia, from personal stories to wishes, from tough moments to dreaded conversations. Here is some of what we learned — each event, we have a sketchpad where anyone can write takeaways.

Thinking of having a conversation with your loved one about being prepared for the possible or improbable?
Living Matters has many resources, including a Advance Care Planning workbook. It’s beautifully thought out. Take a look!
Users of the public health care system can request a social worker to help complete the workbook as well.

Open questions:
What is death?
Are you afraid of death? Why?
What motivates the rituals and traditions around it?
Have you contemplated suicide?
When does a person deserve to die? (ie for crime, or due to illness and suffering)

More open questions:

Is “death” a bad or offensive word? How does one talk about it?
What changes if you know you have a limited time to live?
How do you want to die? How do you get your affairs in order?
Have you experienced almost dying?
Have you lost a loved one?
How do you support a friend who has lost a loved one?

A few of our takeaways:

Death, or the idea of it, has varying benefits to people.

Death is not the end for me. It’s just a different stage. maybe the beginning of something else.


Suicide. Many of us has contemplated it, at one time or for long moments. You are not alone.

Dark thoughts of jumping off buildings or driving off cliffs is not uncommon — it’s a strange idea that “if I did this right now, something incredible and terrible would happen.” Perhaps, it protects us from bad decisions.


Everyone has their views on death and what happens afterwards. Enjoy life and all it offers.

Death is inevitable and the one common factor we have.

Respect each person’s opinions and views on death. It’s easier than accepting their views on sex or politics because death comes to all.


Really appreciate the free and open sharing from everyone — touched by the stories that people chose to share.

Amazed and how everyone is open with sharing. How do we have the same conversation with our friends and family?

Death, Redesigned 
Blog post: A legendary design firm, a corporate executive, and a Buddhist-hospice director take on the end of life.

Angela OgnevAre you afraid of dying? Why?
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