“We’ve tried to shield our children. Some of them don’t know what to do at a funeral home or how to support a friend who’s lost someone,” she said. “We’ve raised a whole generation of folks that may not be talking about death.”
Audrey Pellicano, 60, a Death Cafe facilitator, said it’s not surprising baby boomers have avoided talking about death because their generation has been resisting aging for decades.
“We don’t deal with loss,” she said. “We know how to acquire things, not how to give them up. We have no idea how to leave this life and everything we’ve got.”
Gignoux said participants often bring up supernatural aspects such as communications from the dead. “Some people have very rich experiences,” she said.
The Rev. Mark Bozzuti-Jones, who arranged for Death Cafes to be held at Manhattan’s famous Trinity Church, said the discussion should be open to all views, regardless of whether they conform to religious teachings.
“I suspect every person probably has a different understanding of death, the afterlife, no afterlife,” Bozzuti-Jones said. “The different views may provide some form of healing.”
Kushner said he doesn’t need any firm answers to benefit from Death Cafes.
“I like the idea that we live with this great mystery,” he said. “Wouldn’t life be boring without it?”