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Letter: A Compelling Conversation Topic

To the Editor:

I was very pleased to see the article about “death cafes” you ran on Oct. 11 on page C3. I learned about these while living in Switzerland two years ago. The originator of the idea, by the way, is Bernard Crettaz, not Crettoz, as reported in the article. Steve Gordon, founder of The Hand to Heart Project, and I decided to try one in the Upper Valley last year and simply invited some friends and acquaintances over to my home one Sunday afternoon. It was a meaningful, lively conversation that included laughter and tears. We were all surprised when we realized two hours had passed. The second one we held flew by similarly. It seemed to us then, and still does, that there’s lots of need in our country for no-holds-barred conversation on the subject of mortality. We encourage others who might want to simply air an idea or voice a worry to try out a café mortel — using the original French seems a little less threatening. Nice to know the Upper Valley was ahead of the curve and the rest of the country is catching on.

Irene Kacandes

Lebanon

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‘Death Cafes’ Foster More Intimate Talk on a Taboo Subject

Friday, October 11, 2013

Philadelphia — Let’s talk about death. That doesn’t appeal to you? You’re probably in the majority, but there’s a subset of people who long to share their thoughts about mortality, funerals, the afterlife, even their grief for their departed shih tzu, and have trouble finding anyone who doesn’t try to change the subject. Those are the people Rachel Zeldin, Simcha …