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Creating Space
This event was part of Creating Space


This weekend we have gathered accomplished speakers and pioneers from our Art of Dying program, each of whom provides a unique perspective on compassionate and wise ways of addressing death.


(Schedule in EDT)

9:30 – 10:15 AM

African American Grief and Loss– Tashel Bordere, Ph.D.

In this talk, Tashel Bordere will offer us an inside look at historic and modern-day healing rituals for death as well as significant non-death losses for Black families. The subjects she will explore will include: the multifaceted processes of grief and coping; the historical and contemporary lived experiences of trauma, loss and “suffocated grief;” current end-of-life care options; culturally responsive after-death care rituals for both the deceased and the bereaved; and distinctive Black funeral rituals and practices.

10:15 -11:15 AM

Dia de Muertos Ceremony– Cetiliztli Nauhcampa Quetzalcoatl in Ixachitlan

The Day of The Dead, originating in southern Mexico but now celebrated throughout Latin America, is a magical, festive community celebration that includes meditation, dances, altars, and ritual. It is a time during which perception should be especially alert so we can receive the energies of ancestors and guiding spirits. In this ceremony some members of the Cetiliztli group will offer a brief presentation on the tradition, practices and meaning of the Dia de Muertos followed by the creation of a traditional altar to honor and remember loved ones who have died. Each participant will have the opportunity to make a virtual offering to the altar and to meditate on those who are no longer with us.


11:30 – 12:15 AM

 Music as Medicine at the End of Life–Catharine DeLong

Music at the bedside can bring beauty, intimacy, and comfort to end-of-life patients. It invites listeners to be present to what is going on both inside and around them. Focusing on the most effective uses of live vocal, instrumental and recorded music for palliative individuals and their loved ones, Catharine DeLong will share some of her experiences as a certified music thanatologist, contemplative musician and end-of-life educator and discuss how music can provide a vital support to patients and their families, helping them encounter the dying process as a natural passage.

Breakout Sessions

Sunday Afternoon

2:15 – 3:15 PM

After Death: Creating Empowering Experiences for Healing– Rev. Olivia Bareham and Amy Cunningham in conversation with Jeannie Blaustein, PhD, D. Ministry

Intelligent and compassionate end-of-life design can empower those who are dying as well as those who remain when they’ve gone. The moments, hours and days after someone dies can offer beautiful, empowering, and transformative healing experiences. West Coast death midwife Rev. Olivia Bareham and East Coast funeral director Amy Cunningham, in conversation with Jeannie Blaustein, founding board chair of the non-profit, Reimagine, will explore the movement to redesign end-of-life experiences, including increasing the opportunities to say a final farewell in the hours after death, and alternative funeral options such as home funerals, witnessed cremation and green burials, and how these practices can bring enhanced healing to families and communities.

3:15 – 3:30 PM



3:45 – 4:30 PM

Crisis and Opportunity: Sharing Our Grief with the World – Karen Wyatt MD

As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the world and changed the landscape of end-of-life care, we are experiencing unique challenges and opportunities around grief and mourning. With an emphasis on the collective grief we share as a global community we will explore tools and practices for connecting heart-to-heart even when we cannot be together in the same physical space. Through our shared experience we can recognize that love is not limited by space and time.

4:30 – 5:00 PM

Closure — Ralph White


Advance Care Planning Ritual & Ceremony Talk, Panel, & Conversation Music & Sound
Spirituality Grief Social Justice & Race

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