What does it mean to be part of a death movement? It isn’t something that I think about much in my day-to-day dealings with families. It isn’t until I’m reminded by the larger milestones in the development of The Movement that I’m aware of the fact that I am part of something far bigger than myself or the little company that I started. Caitlin, Stephanie, Mara and Megan and all the contributors that have put together a fantastic redesign of The Order of the Good Death website. It is an astounding renovation of the forum that started some of the most profound changes in the dialogue about death our culture has had since Jessica Mitford came to us with a scathing review of the industry in her book The American Way of Death, and the industry response of ever more useless products to fill a profit void.
This may sound like melodrama and even still, I will say that I believe wholeheartedly in The Order of The Good Death’s ability to create pathways to communication that were once taboo that otherwise would be left unexplored.
My proximity to these women and the profound changes that they are pioneering has allowed me a special place of honor. A place where I routinely have people seeking my opinion and expertise in the arena of death practices and how we can embrace these practices. I, and the people I work with at Elemental, have found a spot with rare air. A place where people like you can come to us in the dialogue to bounce ideas off of us, call us for interviews, ask the tough questions and find a place where it’s safe to get answers.
And that’s really what it’s all about: People and Place. And adding new life to a conversation about death.
You see, for all of our global talk, the interwebs ability to shorten distance and increase dialogues while decreasing taboos, death happens locally. For every interview I do with NPR or (hopefully) the BBC (and maybe with Diane Rhem…call me!), the reality is that people die in our community and funeral homes serve the people within driving distance. You can’t click through a YouTube removal of a body from someone’s bedroom (at least I don’t think you can…) and you can’t cremate someone on another continent.
The reason I consider myself so blessed in this movement, is because The Order is taking abstract and theoretical concepts and encouraging you and your family to talk and create tradition so that this isn’t something seemingly horrific. We all die – for better or worse, this is not only our future, but the future of everyone around us. It is a shared experience. The fantastic redesign of The Order’s website and its subsequent re-launch serves as a reminder that I am part of something that is big. It’s big because you are engaged and passionate. It’s big because you’re here reading this because you have a love of life. I’m just thankful that I get to tag along with you on the journey.
Gracious appreciation to you all!