Jabber, When you say our folks had a "death dinner" after the funeral of a close beloved family member, I'm thinking of what my family does, which is host a meal-oriented get-together -- sometimes as simple as a potluck, other times a sit-down dinner in a nice restaurant -- after a funeral because it's a chance for everyone to assemble and socialize. Some people call this a "wake."

The concept being that many of the people there will have come from a distance, and don't often see one-another. Since you can't really chat/catch-up on news at the funeral ceremony, this post-service meal serves that purpose. And does a very good job.

But it's not the same as a "death dinner." These death dinners -- as the article explains in some depth -- are not held in relation to any death. They are held when everyone is healthy and hearty -- with the express purpose of sharing good food and wine while you share with your family and friends HOW you want things to be handled when it comes time for you to die.

It's an effort at PRE-PLANNING your own funeral in order to assure that you get the funeral that you really want.

In other words, you talk about whether you want to be buried in the family plot or whether you'd rather be cremated and have your ashes tossed to the winds.

You talk about whether or not you want to be put on life-support and that sort of thing....

And to some degree, you might talk about how you want your possessions dispersed, where your will is kept, what songs you'd like played at the service, and maybe even what you'd like everyone to eat at your wake.

I wrote a bit about this in my old blog, boomerlifestyle.com back a few years ago. Check the link, I think you'll find that article quite informative.

Now I suppose some of that sort of discussion might naturally happen at a wake - especially if people are commenting about what they liked or didn't like about the funeral service, etc.

But in my experience, these wake dinners are mostly about remembering the dearly departed, consoling the grief-stricken and catching up on family news. So the main purpose is remembering the dearly departed, as opposed to planning for our own deaths.

And it seems to me that if we hold a special dinner among friends to discuss how we want things to happen as we are dying, there is a much larger chance that we will actually get it.

For example, if I told my husband, in front of friends, that I want to be buried in an eco-friendly manner, then no one will have any cause to think ill of him at the funeral, when they see he didn't opt for the ridiculously ornate coffin so many funeral homes try to pass off as being the most "respectful" way to treat our recently departed loved ones.

Personally, I'm really glad people are starting to talk more openly about this stuff.
Boomer in Chief of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.