Where do I want to be when I die? What do I want to hear? Music? A barking dog? Raindrops?Heyser

This is what we ponder at a Death Café. Can you imagine sitting at a round table with friends and strangers eating cake, drinking coffee, tea and lemonade and chatting about things like, “Is there someone I would I like to be with when I die? If so, with who would that be?”

Death Cafés are happening all over the world right now because someone got the idea and tried one. It appears that an impressive number of us who have never talked about death find it a topic that requires a good bit of honesty, courage and can be interesting and inspiring.

To most medical and health practitioners, talking about death is a requirement. It’s a mortician’s business and can’t be avoided on the battlefield. So, does death have a place in our daily lives? Why would we ever want to talk about death? Good questions to be contemplated at our upcoming Death Café.

The Lake Oswego Adult Community Center will host a Death Café on Sunday, Dec. 8, from 2 to 4 p.m. I predict, from experience, that when the word “death” shows up, many of us will squeeze up our faces in one way or another and maybe even shiver. Some of us will immediately say, “No way.” Some of us will take a little time and think about it. Those of us who are curious won’t be able to miss it.

I think I would like to wear something special when I die, something I have in my closet or maybe something I should look for now? It interests me to think up a costume. In fact, I would like to conduct my memorial service while I am alive. I would especially like to hear what people have to say about me before I’m gone.

How would I tell my friends my life is almost over? What would I want them to say to me? When I know my friend is dying, what would he or she want me to say? What would they want to say to me? How do we really comfort each other when that time comes?

When the family knew my mother was dying in 1975, she and everyone around her was afraid to talk about it. One day, sitting alone with her at the breakfast table I asked, “Mama, how do you feel about dying?” I saw my mother’s shoulders drop. I saw her facial expression and her body relax. I listened when she began to talk about her good life. We both were relieved of the tension and she was able to talk with me about it until the end.

Death is as real as life. I think Death Cafés are helping liberate death from its prison of secrecy, pretense, silence. Please join us at our own LOACC Death Café if you are so moved. All ages from 18 are invited. The LOACC is located at 505 G Ave., Lake Oswego. Free tea, cake and conversation.

Norma Edythe Heyser is a resident of Lake Oswego.

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