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Letters: Talking about death

April 19, 2013

Re "Death Cafe: Passing thoughts," Column One, April 15

Too often I sit in a hospital room with a comatose congregant surrounded by adult children locked in battle over what mom or dad really wanted. Sometimes the one most committed to heroic intervention is the child with the most unresolved issues. Not a good moment to act out this family drama.

Too often the funeral comes with the adult child unclear about cremation or burial. Too often I see families destroyed because wills were not discussed openly in advance of death and one of the adult children is devastated by a perceived or real injustice. Too often I see missed opportunities for healing old hurts through honest conversation.

What better place than one's own faith community to talk about end-of-life decisions? At Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, these conversations are not called "death cafes" but rather "sacred conversations."

Rabbi Laura Geller

Los Angeles

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