The Death Cafe Experience

Death Cafe sign at the Poughkeepsie Library.

Have you heard of a Death Cafe?  Having originated in the UK, death cafes are popping up everywhere stateside and offers a great place to have a conversation about death in all its capacity.  There is no agenda, no set topics, no religion was pushed, it isn’t meant as therapy… it was just a simple, straight-forward gathering to have open conversations about death and to help dispel the taboo nature of it all. In the past, death was talked about more freely by society.  Epidemics, disasters,  and war made death a daily reality and it was more wide and openly discussed but as medical technology emerged that extended the human lifespan, our mortality became an underground topic.  But we should talk about it… A LOT… openly and honestly with friends and family so when the time does come, everyone is prepared and on the same page as to one’s final wishes.

I recently attended one in Poughkeepsie at the library and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised and came away thinking about death and how it affects everyone differently.  My own views have been affected by certain events in my life, religion, genealogy, and my “real life” job. To see others had the same/similar things that changed their views of death too, was somewhat of a comforting relief.  I have always seen death differently, not a terrible, fearful event but an inevitable beginning to a hopeful new adventure. And never being afraid to talk about it, doesn’t always make you a popular choice for a companion or friend.  (shrug)

Dear Esther – Family History Writing Challenge Day 1


The Cincinati Equirer, 24 Jan 1914, Page 3

As part of the #30DayFHWChallenge, I am writing this letter to my second great-grandmother who was murdered in 1914 by her husband, William, before he shot himself as well.  I’ve written about Esther and William’s sad story before and the tragic ending of their two orphaned boys who would go on to kill themselves when they were adults as well.

In my quest to understand what happened that horrible day, I’ve gobbled up every bit of information I can find regarding William and Esther looking for clues and signs to explain why this had to happen. Most people would probably just shake their head at the tragedy and move on, but as a victim of abuse myself in the past, I wonder if she knew it was escalating to that point of no return.  This is my letter to her….

The Terrible Death of Ebenezer Wheeler

If you watch AMC’S show TURN:  Washington’s Spies, you’re well aware of the the Queen’s Ranger leader Robert Rogers.  As noted in the show, Rogers fought in the French & Indian War.  My 1st cousin, 7X removed, Ebenezer Wheeler enlisted and went with Rogers in a raid to Quebec in 1759 where poor Ebenezer suffered a most terrible death on the return trip home, as did several others.  The description is just heart-wrenching.


Excerpt from pg. 44 of The Genealogical and Encyclopedic History of the Wheeler Family in America.