Long Before The End Book Group

Is it funny or inappropriate? You decide. This month is Dead People Suck by comedian Laurie Kilmartin and Exit Laughing: How Humor Takes the Sting Out of Death by Victoria Zackheim.

Free to attend, RSVP required: 

You don’t have to have read the book! Happy to see you!

6:30pm – 8:00pm
February 12, 2019
New York Open Center

Music as Medicine at the End of Life

Catharine DeLong

Music at the bedside brings beauty, intimacy, and comfort to end-of-life patients. The senses of hearing and touch are the last to fade as a person winds their way towards death. Music invites listeners to be present to what is going on both inside and around them. Catharine’s workshop offers the most effective uses of live and recorded music for palliative individuals and their loved ones. She brings her experience as a freelance harpist, certified music-thanatologist and contemplative musician to support patients and families, and help them encounter the dying process as a natural passage.

A Half-Day Workshop at The New York Open Center (22 E 30th St)
Sunday, June 9, 2019, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
$110 (Members & Nonmembers) Early Bird rate $70 by April 26

This workshop can be taken alone or as part of the New York Open Center’s Certificate in the Art of Dying: Integrative Thanatology.  Click HERE  for more information.


reimagine: End of Life

It’s a week of exploring big questions about life and death.

Artists, storytellers, healthcare professionals, faith and community leaders, and innovators across all five boroughs of New York City from Oct. 27-Nov. 3 are uniting to create a unique week of more than 250 events.

New York

October 27 – November 03, 2018

  • 322 Events
  • 105 Art Exhibits
  • 60 Interactive Rituals
  • 32 Performances
  • 15 Comedy Shows
  • 1 Universal Topic

Several of our Threshold Circle members are one of 200+ collaborators coming together to explore death and celebrate life from every perspective. We invite you to join us in questioning how we think about this most universal human experience with the events below:

Re-imagining Death at Interference Archives

Saturday, October 27, 2-4pm

Hosted by Interference Archive with EE Miller and Jane Dowling

Limited Space – Please R.S.V.P to

What is the relationship between death awareness and social change? Death, and grief are universal experiences that touch all of our lives, yet we often find ourselves disempowered and overwhelmed in increasingly privatized and professionalized spaces. How will social movements continue to help us re-imagine how we die and how we grieve?

This workshop will highlight the communal possibilities that open when we make space to discuss our fears and visions together. In this workshop we will consider inspiring models for supporting each other in community. We will provide local resources for today while imagining a radically different future. This workshop aims to expand our capacities to show up, despite our fears, and to build connection, mutual aid, and access. 

What to expect:

  • Overview of current state of death and dying
  • artful community-centered models for caring for the living and honoring the dead.
  • opportunities to reflect and to share your personal experiences and ideas
  • information/resources regarding advance directives, hospice and palliative care, holistic deathcare and disposition.

Ultimate Shavasana

Hosted by Gina Colombatto and Meredith Hays

Get wrapped up (literally!) in lively conversation and a beautiful shroud or coffin!

How will we leave these bodies? What are our biggest fears around death and dying? Can we find peace of mind in practicing The Fine Art of Living and Dying? Our fear of death is what kills us before our bodies actually stop. These fears hold us hostage in our daily lives, limiting our experiences and turning us away from this moment, this joy, this presence. Join us in an insightful workshop where we will share our greatest fears, and perhaps find ourselves laughing in the face of death.

We’ll spend time exploring our deep love of life and the many ways to leave these bodies! This is an invitation to trust yourself and practice dying with grace. Practice, it is said, makes perfect; and although we will not be doing anything to endanger our lives, this workshop will challenge us to relinquish our fears and allow us to breathe into the unknown.

This workshop is physical and requires the participant to get up and down on the floor with ease or with help of a personal assistant.

NOTE: There are 3 available sessions for the Ultimate Shavasana.

FUNeral: A Workshop on How to Truly Celebrate A Life and Death

Hosted by Shatzi Weisberger

Want the time of your Life? Join Shatzi Weisberger, an 88 year old FUNeral consultant, who wants to share with you how to truly capitalize on the FUN in funeral.

A FUNeral can be a meaningful and joyous celebration of Life and Death for people of all ages. Shatzi will share her insights and her inspiration for what has evolved into a profound, meaningful and fun way to celebrate this life’s journey. Shatzi states it best… “I recently gave myself a FUNeral. I’m 88 years old, so I thought it was about time. More than 100 friends and relatives, including a journalist from the New York Times, shared in this experience with me. A FUNeral can be can be a meaningful and joyous event and in this workshop, I will share with you how to create your own FUNeral.”

The Art of the Condolence Letter at the New York Public Library, 67th Street Manhattan branch

Hosted by Amy Cunningham

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 Jefferson, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Marcel Proust, Abraham Lincoln, and Queen Victoria with comparisons to modern letter writing.  Participants will then discuss what extending condolences means today in the age of Facebook and digital media.

In the Parlor: The Final Goodbye Film Screening

Hosted by Green-Wood with Amy Cunningham

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.

An Affectionate History of Winding Sheets and Burial Garments

Hosted by Brooklyn Historical Society with Amy Cunningham

Amy Cunningham 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.

Living with Dying in the LGBT Community

Hosted by SAGE with Amy Cunningham

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.

Hosted by International End of Life Doula Association (INELDA) and Henry Fersko-Weiss with Amy Cunningham

Join Amy Cunningham 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.

Other Paths: New Ways to Consider Death, Dying & Remembrance

Hosted by DOROT with Amy Cunningham

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?

Cremation: History and Modern Process

Hosted by Green-Wood with Amy Cunningham

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.

Exploring the Energetics of Death and Grief with Jeanne Denney

Hosted by The Bhakti Center

How can we understand more about how our psyche evolves in tandem with the body through death? Learn how to participate in this sacred time.

Death and grief are undoubtedly the biggest challenges to body and soul we will ever experience. These processes are physical, emotional and spiritual, and they are connected. But how? Can we understand more about how bodies and relationships change together through these great changes? Actually, we can. 

Many spiritual traditions describe subtle energetic bodies which they say pulse through and around our physical body in life. In this workshop, we will explore how psyche and spirit evolve in tandem with the body through death. Jeanne Denney will offer a new map to the terrain of dying that helps us see it as essential to our vitality. We will consider whether thinking about energy helps us better understand dying, grieving and ordinary living. This work emerges from her experiences of many years at the bedside as a hospice worker, healer, and a somatic psychotherapist.

Jeanne Denney is a therapist, healer, teacher and death (and life) educator who maintains a private practice in Core Energetic Therapy, Somatic Psychology and Energetic Bodywork in West Nyack, NY, Saugerties, NY and New York City.

Her deepest commitment in life is teaching about patterns within health, transformation and human development derived from a wide lens and deep understanding of the human journey. From there she very much enjoys offering healing, therapy and hospice support in their myriad forms.

Ancestral Mask Making for Families

Hosted by Gina Colombatto and Jennifer Perez

A fun family event for youth (10 and up) and their parents/grandparents to create art and reflect on those who have come before, celebrating their lives and exploring ancestral traditions.

Join us for an afternoon of family storytelling through mask making!

This workshop will offer:

  • a safe and supportive environment 
  • a table for families to share photos and special mementos to honor past relatives
  • supplies to design, create and paint a family ancestry mask to be taken home 
  • group discussion of death experiences of passed loved ones and family pets

Families will engage in creating a mask or masks with their adolescent that brings forth memories of their ancestors. Colorful, serious, whimsical, each mask will reflect traits passed on (physical or stylistic) by family from long ago and far away. Everyone is invited to make their own mask to embody what they might pass on to the next generation. Feel free to bring photos to honor family members and pets who have gone before us.

Loving Deeply and Letting Go

Hosted by Gina Colombatto and The Fine Art Of Living And Dying

Spend the evening with friends and/or family members exploring how to love deeply and let go gracefully.

A workshop focused on who and what we love, can’t imagine life without, or have already had to let go of…maybe without grace. And the invitation to write a love note to someone here or gone from our lives, with grace!

As we enter the season of darkness, this workshop is for everyone who is interested in joining the conversation with an open heart. Feel free to come solo.

We will celebrate The Fine Art of Living and Dying by

  • looking at our biggest fears
  • acknowledging our deepest heart connections
  • sharing what things truly bring us happiness
  • diving into those sweet places that enhance our lives
  • and finding the knowledge that we are all in this together!

We will walk out into the night having let go of old beliefs, our tight hold on those comfort zones, and some (or perhaps all!) of our fears around death and dying.

Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

View the Frontline Documentary and Discuss the NYT Best Selling Book

Hosted by Harriet Cohen, End of Life Counselor

Thursday, November 1

6PM room 404
Manny Cantor Center
197 East Broadway

Celebrating Aging In Film Series: Aging Happiness Impermanence

Hosted by bevival

November 2 – 4 in Montclair, New Jersey

Don’t miss this engaging weekend of cinema and conversation as we uncover common narratives that inform our aging-well population

“When “Lady” Sandra Abbott discovers that her husband of 40 years is having an affair with her best friend, she seeks refuge in London with her estranged, older sister Bif. The two could not be more different – Sandra is a fish out of water next to her outspoken, serial dating, free-spirited sibling. But different is just what Sandra needs at the moment, and she reluctantly lets Bif drag her along to a community dance class, where she starts finding her feet. A delightfully sweet story about the indomitable human spirit, aging and reinvention.”