Host Your Own Death Dinner

This serves as a basic guide for hosting your own death dinner. Adapted from the guides found at Death over Dinner.

Requirements

Dinner

A comfortable and private environment

A candle for each participant

Opener

"Let's Have Dinner and Talk About Death" has rapidly inspired a growing global community of people to talk about an often-not-discussed topic: death and dying. From physicians, to athletes, to tech executives, and many more- death dinners are being used to pull back the veil on the most important and costly conversation the world isn’t having.

Death, consciousness and the state of Being are some of the most important topics that we avoid talking about. I recently stumbled across the work of a group of leading psychologists, neuroscientists and physicists who are working to break the taboo around the conversations about existence and dying.

This is not meant to be a morbid or politically correct conversation but a human one.

Phase I - Honoring Your Lost Ones

To start the evening, let’s bring a sense of gratitude to the table and acknowledge those who have gone on before us. Let’s do a quick around the table introduction, to be completed with a “raise of the glass” to someone who is no longer with us, who impacted your life in some way or who you admire deeply. In no more than twenty words, share why you admire them. After sharing, light your candle.

Phase II - Exploring Death

We’ll now go around the table, allowing everyone time to answer. Follow up questions can be asked by anyone at the table but no sharing of personal anecdotes until it’s your turn.

Some questions to get the conversation started:

For what do you want to be remembered?

What would you want your final 30 days to look like?

If you knew you were going to die soon and had only one phone call to make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?

How do you know when you are feeling grief? Can you describe the feeling to someone that has never felt?

Do you feel frightened or at peace? Why?

Phase III - Your Death

We’ll now go around the table, allowing everyone time to answer. Follow up questions can be asked by anyone at the table but no sharing of personal anecdotes until it’s your turn.

How do you want your own life to end?

Imagine you had a crystal ball and could watch the future day of your death, what do you think you would see, hour by hour until your death?

How you would like to support the end-of-life wishes of those you love and care about?

Phase IV - Silence

As we draw to a close, we will conduct “the Pause” followed by a round of appreciation. “The Pause” is a shared moment to take notice of ourselves inside the expanse of our existence, our consciousness, the love in our life and the ones we've lost.

Take 1-2 minutes for a moment of silence

Phase V - Appreciation

To close the evening, someone begins by sharing one thing they admire about the person to their left and the person to their right. The person who is appreciated can only say, “Thank you". The circle continues until everyone has been admired once. If you just met the person beside you tonight, find something during the dinner that stuck out about them that you can reflect back to them.

We suggest that after the appreciation you break from the table and do whatever calls you. Whether you look up at the vastness of the sky or lounge on a couch to digest it all, do something that further deepens connections and awareness that you experienced at the table. Tonight is your night.