Death is a part of life that many people do not like to acknowledge in the same way that we praise life. We talk about life, what it means to be alive, and ask questions like "Are we really living?"
But death...death we don't like to talk about. When someone says anything that begins with "when I die," or "when I pass," we shush them, and focus on what is left of life instead.
But is death not as much of a part of living as the actual act of living? We are all surrounded by, and profoundly affected by, death. The death of loved ones. The death of nature. Our own, impending deaths. It's considered a dark, taboo topic, and some people want that to change.
This piece focuses on one movement that worked to change the demonization of death by having what are called death cafes, where people gather to talk about death. It's a fascinating read, and something that even if we prefer to not talk about death, will intrigue anyone who starts it.
Which brings me to this: why is this piece so awesome?
= The Topic
--Sometimes, a piece is great because an author manages to make a somewhat mundane topic come alive with cool writing techniques. While this has great writing, it would be still somewhat fascinating WITHOUT the amazing writing. The topic is too great: death. Everyone, at some point in their lives, has thought about death. Everyone has an opinion about death, when is best to die, when they would like to die and more, even if they don't talk about it. So everyone can enjoy reading this piece!
= Great use of another language
--Often, in pieces written in English that have many non-English speaking characters or happen in a country that predominantly speaks a different language, any phrases used in another language become annoying. The author did a great job of incorporating a few phrases (where necessary) in a different language, and didn't use the cumbersome "he said in French," that I find so annoying.
= Solid Research
--As always, any really great creative non-fiction piece is going to have good research. Without it, it's nothing. Now, this doesn't necessary mean research paper style research, but rather, a full, complete feeling history of necessary characters. Accurate dates to back up stories people told but couldn't remember. Relevant news that has come our recently about the topic that can make it more impacting. All of that was executed very well in this piece.
Did you enjoy the piece? Would you enjoy the cafes? I'd love to hear others' thoughts.