REIMAGINE END OF LIFE WEEK, October 27-November 3, 2018

More than 250 events planned by all manner of experts, artists and deep thinkers will take place the last week of October within our five fabulous boroughs. Amy will be speaking at seven of them.

Monday, October 29th at 3PM

The Art of the Condolence Letter at the New York Public Library, 67th Street Manhattan branch. With death ever-present, condolence letters were mainstays of 19th century life, missives of comfort written straight from the heart. Amy and participants will read copies of letters by Thomas Carlyle, Walt Whitman, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, and Queen Victoria herself with comparisons to modern letter writing.  Participants will then discuss what extending condolences means today in the age of Facebook and digital media. 

Wednesday October 30, 6:30 PM

Join Amy at Green-Wood Cemetery for a screening of the remarkable documentary "In the Parlor: The Final Goodbye,"  both a critical look at America’s uncomfortable relationship with death and an inquiry into the growing revival of home-based death-care. The film takes viewers on an intimate journey into the lives of three families who have chosen to reclaim an active role in caring for their deceased as a more personal and fulfilling way to say goodbye. The film challenges us to reflect on how we view the experience of death, so often feared, denied, and left unspoken. A discussion will follow the screening, which has a running time of 80 minutes.

Thursday, October 31, 6:30 pm

Amy gives a talk called "An Affectionate History of Winding Sheets and Burial Garments" on Halloween at the Brooklyn Historic Society. We'll study the employment of shrouds and garments in Hindu, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions. We'll gaze at the best shrouds in religious and art history, and see burial fabrics fit for emperors (Charlemagne's shroud was indeed a knock-out). Our lecture will conclude with a discussion of present-day, eco-friendly, shroud making. You'll learn why the burial shroud is the rock star of today's greener burial movement. Brooklyn Historic Society, 128 Pierrepont St. (corner of Clinton Street), Brooklyn, New York. 

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 1, 3PM

LGBTQ Death and Dying panel discussion at SAGE, 305 Seventh Ave, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10001. A terrific group of individuals from various disciplines will explore the emotional, spiritual, and practical aspects of life’s end, from locating culturally empathetic care to the importance and intricacies of advance planning. Panelists will include SAGE bereavement counselor and meditation teacher Dojun O’Connor, Amy and others.

THURSDAY, NOVEmBER 1, 7:00 pm-9:00

Join Amy and Henry Fersko-Weiss, Executive Director of the International End of Life Doula Association (INELDA) to discuss the importance and use of ritual throughout the dying process--particularly right after a person's last breaths. Ritual not only helps people move more purposefully through that time, and the hours and days that follow, but gives people a chance to bless aspects of who the person has been and celebrate their life. Henry will demonstrate such a ritual bringing in elements that speak to the dissolution of the five elements: earth, air, fire, water, and consciousness. Amy will talk about after death care of the body, home viewing and funerals. A shrouding demonstration will follow. This event will be held in Guild Hall, The Church of Transfiguration, also known as The Little Church Around The Corner, 2nd Floor.

Friday, November 2, 12:30-2 PM

Other Paths: New Ways to Consider Death, Dying and Remembrance. DOROT, 171 West 85th Street, NYC. How can we enhance the experiences around end of life? Join Amy and LifePosts’ founder Steven Waldman (Amy’s husband) to discuss new ways of considering death, burial and remembrance. Where can we find life in reimagining death and reconsidering how we’d like to be remembered? What is the obituary of the future? How can we enhance the experiences around end of life storytelling? 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 3:30 P.M

Cremation and the Modern Process: Amy's lecture on cremation's history and full crematory tour with Green-Wood's crematory manager Gema LaBochetta (which includes a look at the family witnessing room and the faces of the cremation retorts) is perhaps the most informative and innovative program Amy helps lead. Some people leave feeling at peace with the cremation process, others depart feeling more committed to burial. Bonus: Madame Helena Blavatzky, Mark Twain, and Walt Whitman will make brief appearances. Modern crematory chapel, 500 25th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232. 718-768-7300.


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2018 6:30 PM-8 PM

Amy hosts the Death Cafe at Green-Wood Cemetery. Inspired by the centuries-old European salon, a Death Cafe is an informal gathering where people come to discuss philosophical, personal, or scientific ideas about death. British founder Jon Underwood believed that this kind of gathering would help people make the most of their finite lives, and it seems to work.  Today, there are over 4,400 Death Cafes in 26 countries around the world. The fact that you're discussing death with fellow wayfaring strangers creates an unusual and pleasant intimacy. Tea and light snacks are provided. “A place for people to discuss our inevitable fate.” —Gothamist

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 6:00 PM - 7:30

Memorialization 101, our “Grieving through the Holidays” version at Green-Wood Cemetery, 500 25th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232. After the funeral is over, how do we begin memorializing the precious memories of a loved one and plan activities for the holidays in remembrance of those we’re missing so much? While traditional acts – such as published obituaries, grave markers, scrap books, and stories at the dinner table – are important and relevant, there are new and exciting ways emerging on how to preserve a person’s life, wisdom, and cherished values. Join Amy for a discussion about capturing the true legacy of a loved one. Learn about creating unique keepsakes, whether it is the form of textiles, artwork, charitable donations, or readings. She will also explore how digital platforms can provide an ideal space for sharing stories and memories that are easily accessible. Discover what might feel right for your family.

DECEMBER 11, 2018, 2018 6:30-8 PM

Amy hosts the Death Cafe at Green-Wood Cemetery. Inspired by the centuries-old European salon, a Death Cafe is an informal gathering where people come to discuss philosophical, personal, or scientific ideas about death. British founder Jon Underwood believed that this kind of gathering would help people make the most of their finite lives, and it seems to work.  Today, there are over 4,400 Death Cafes in 26 countries around the world. The fact that you're discussing death with fellow wayfaring strangers creates an unusual and pleasant intimacy. Tea and light snacks are provided. “A place for people to discuss our inevitable fate.” —Gothamist

 

“Those of you who are worn out and crushed by this mourning, let your hearts consider this:
This is the path that has existed from the time of creation and will exist forever, many have drunk from it and many will yet drink, as was the first meal, so shall be the last. May the master of comfort comfort you. Blessed are those who comfort the mourners.”

—Jewish blessing

Highlighted memories

 Amy shows a felted wool shroud from Bellacouche.com at her greener funeral talk at Pioneer Works, Redhook, Brooklyn, October 4, 2017.

Amy shows a felted wool shroud from Bellacouche.com at her greener funeral talk at Pioneer Works, Redhook, Brooklyn, October 4, 2017.

 Amy at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Trade show, October 2016.

Amy at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Trade show, October 2016.

 Maple Street, Brooklyn, New York, March 2018

Maple Street, Brooklyn, New York, March 2018

 At the screening of Helen Whitney's  "Into the Night,"  Green-Wood Cemetery's Historic Chapel, March 2018

At the screening of Helen Whitney's "Into the Night," Green-Wood Cemetery's Historic Chapel, March 2018

 Photo by Bess Adler for Tricycle magazine, 2017.

Photo by Bess Adler for Tricycle magazine, 2017.

 Near Frank Lloyd Wright’s original burial plot, Spring Green, Wisconsin 2018.

Near Frank Lloyd Wright’s original burial plot, Spring Green, Wisconsin 2018.