Clinical chaplain will guide participants in upcoming discussion at the Estacada Public Library

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: JOHN NOLTER - Clinical Chaplain Andrea Cano is the facilitator of an upcoming Oregon Humanities Conversation Project event in Estacada, titled 'Talking About Dying.'

An upcoming Oregon Humanities Conversation Project in Estacada will focus on a topic people often find difficult to discuss.

In "Talking About Dying," clinical chaplain Andrea Cano will guide participants through a discussion about the end of life. The event, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19, in the Flora Room of the Estacada Public Library, gives attendees the opportunity to reflect on what factors influence the way they think about death and listen to perspectives from community members and neighbors.

"There's a richness to it," Cano said. "Everyone has a different experience. Every conversation is distinct."

Cano added that the participants are the ones who shape the event.

"I have a handful of prompts, but they are the ones who really drive the conversation," she said.

Cano noted that the conversation often brings both humor and tears.

"So many aspects (of dying) emerge," she said. "Who's going to write my obit? Who's doing to take care of the cat?'"

Another theme that often arises is the value of having similar conversations with family and friends, which Cano noted is sometimes difficult to do.

"We live in a society focused on the quality of life, but not the quality of death," she said. "We haven't quite figured out how to die well."

Cano said the connections that the event facilitates are valuable.

"A lot of times people don't know each other and they walk away exchanging phone numbers and emails," she said. "(During the event) they receive genuine life experiences and share a sense of empathy. Many folks share the same experience."

Organized by Oregon Humanities, Conversation Project events strive to bring people together to discuss ideas that are valuable to daily life and Oregon's future.

Cano added that the series is a bit of a unique opportunity for attendees.

"How many moments do you get the chance to sit down and talk with strangers? You don't do it at coffee shops," she said.

If you go

What: "Talking About Dying," presented by the Oregon Humanities Conversation Project.

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19.

Where: Flora Room of the Estacada Public Library, 825 N.W. Wade St.

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