A Woman Sets the table to prepare for her death over dinner discussion.

 

Written by Jacob Terranova

 

Would you talk about death at the dinner table? A new nonprofit is hoping to spur conversation about our own mortality, end-of-life care, and funeral planning. And it’s all taking place at the dinner table.

 

Death Over Dinner began in 2013. Since then, its encouraged more than 70,000 people to dine and discuss death and how they want to be remembered. As studies show, it’s a conversation worth having. According to the latest results of the Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC), a majority of Americans (89%) “feel a discussion about their end-of-life wishes would be meaningful.” Yet, the study also found that only 17% of people have actually made any end-of-life arrangements.

 

Death Over Dinner plans to change that. According to their website, “How we want to die — represents the most important and costly conversation America isn’t having. We have gathered dozens of medical and wellness leaders to cast an unflinching eye at end of life, and we have created an uplifting interactive adventure that transforms this seemingly difficult conversation into one of deep engagement, insight and empowerment.”

 

Death Over Dinner: How it Began

Let’s go back to the beginning. Death Over Dinner began with founder Michael Hebb during a train trip from Portland to Seattle. During the commute, he struck up a conversation with those next to him. Those strangers happened to be two doctors. Their conversation quickly turned toward the topic of end-of-life care. As Michael put it, it’s an important conversation that no one is having.

 

Their discussion on the train inspired Michael to create a movement that encourages meaningful discussions about the end of our lives. Within a few months, the Death Over Dinner campaign officially began. And shortly after, more than 30 countries signed up with the team’s campaign.

 

But why over dinner? The dinner table is a place we come together in comfort and to connect, making it a perfect place for those difficult conversations.

 

How Death Over Dinner Works

The Death Over Dinner program is an easy-to-use resource for anyone looking to have end-of-life conversations with their loved ones.

 

Just head over to Death Over Dinner, and click “Get Started.” The website then takes you through a series of questions, such as “Who’s Coming to Dinner?”

A look at the Death Over Dinner website

The website then asks what goals you want to accomplish during the conversation, offers helpful resources to read or watch, and gives you steps to start planning your dinner and end-of-life conversation.

Watch the Ted Talk about Death Over Dinner to learn more.