Information about Ann Arbor Death Cafe can be found on our Facebook page. Please “like” us!

Information about Ann Arbor Green Burial Network can be found here. Please “like” us!

Science Cafe: Death and Dying @ Conor O'Neills
Oct 19 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Sponsored by UM Museum of Natural History, event begins with short presentations by guests Merilynne Rush, Drs. Adam Marks and Thomas O’Neil. Informal discussion follows among small groups, with large group wrap-up. Come early, as seating is limited!

When Death Comes Callin': Songs and Reflections about Death @ Ford Auditorium, UM Hospital 2nd Floor
Oct 26 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Singers Charlotte DeVries, Jeanne Mackey and Merilynne Rush reflect various perspectives on death – humorous, sad, thoughtful and quirky. With Brian Buckner (keyboard) and Eric Fithian (bass). Program is similar to last fall’s concert entitled “And When I Die…”

Being Mortal Film Screening and Panel Discussion @ MIchigan Theater
Oct 26 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Join Arbor Hospice for a free screening and discussion of the PBS FRONTLINE film Being Mortal. Based on the best-selling book by Atul Gawande, MD, this documentary explores the hopes of patients and families facing terminal illness and their relationships with the doctors, nurses and family members who care for them.

— See the film and be a part of a national conversation that asks the important question: “Have you and your family had these important conversations and planned ahead?”

— 5:30 Reception

–6:30 Film

–7:30 Panel discussion (Merilynne is among the panelists)

REGISTRATION REQUESTED so Arbor Hospice can provide enough food for all :)

All Souls/Day of the Dead Gathering @ Church of the Incarnation
Oct 30 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

An interfaith gathering to remember and honor those who have passed on, through music, a meal, and ceremony. Vegetarian stew provided. Bring photos and mementos of loved ones who have died and a dish to pass. Hosted by Jeanne Mackey and Diana Cramer. All are welcome!

End-of-Life Doula Training Workshop @ Center for the Childbearing Year
Nov 18 – Nov 19 all-day


An End-of-Life Doula accompanies the dying person and their loved ones through the final months, weeks and days of life. He/she provides support, resources, education and friendship for those who accept and embrace dying as a period of life, not just an abrupt ending. This period of life may last a year or a day. It brings challenges and joys, sorrows and opportunity. The end-of-life doula adds a layer of support for both the dying person and their family to help them live life to the fullest.

In our November training (Michigan’s first!), participants learn what an end-of-life doula is and does and how to support the dying and their loved ones through education, accompaniment, referrals to resources in the community and companionship. End-of-Life Doulas learn to enhance and empower, rather than usurp the role of friends, family, medical team and spiritual care providers. They learn how to set guidelines, define their reach, maintain good boundaries and practice self-care.

As more and more of us live longer and face chronic and life-limiting illness, the period of dying has extended from a few days or weeks to months or years. Medical care focuses solely on cure and treatment. Patients often feel adrift among medical choices while grasping for ways to live with illness in full awareness that death will come. Life choices include acceptance, growth and sharing gifts of love and preparation. There is much meaning to be found during the “dying year” that is profound and life affirming. It is a time of opportunity and growth to be embraced, not shunned. The end-of-life doula guides and accompanies the dying person and their family as they explore this territory and live to the fullest during this transition time.

Please visit for more info and to register.



Advance Care Planning Workshop @ Center for the Childbearing Year
Jan 21 @ 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Become a RespectingChoices® Advance Care Planning Facilitator!

Training includes how to assist healthy adults to identify a healthcare advocate, discuss their values and wishes with their advocate, and complete Advance Directive documents. Those who complete the course receive certification as a First Steps Facilitator through Respecting Choices®.

Training Prerequisites

  1. Complete four online training modules.
  2. Initiate an advance care planning discussion with someone.
  3. Complete an Advance Directive practice document.

Respecting Choices®

Respecting Choices® is an international, evidence-based advance care planning (ACP) program with a key message: ACP is a process of communication rather than a signature on a document.This process enables individuals to:

  • Understand their choices for future healthcare
  • Reflect on personal goals, values, religious or cultural beliefs
  • Talk to physicians, healthcare agents and loved ones about their preferences.

To be effective, this process of communication needs to be individualized, based on a person’s state of health and revisited at appropriate times.

To register, click on the “Tickets” link above and then scroll to the bottom of the page.

End-of-Life Doula Training @ Center for the Childbearing year
Feb 3 @ 8:30 am – Feb 5 @ 5:00 pm

Due to high demand we are offering this, our second End-of-Life Doula Training, so soon after our first successful training in November. We won’t be offering it again until October. Please read all the info here. We’ve also started a Facebook conversation group for support to those doing this awesome work.
Learn how to provide extra support to families caring for their dying loved one. Based on the doula model of care developed for birth and postpartum and taught by experienced natural healthcare providers and educators Merilynne Rush and Patty Brennan, this is a one-of-a-kind, dynamic and fast-paced training limited to 20 people. Our well-developed teaching style comes from our combined years of experience with caring for families in transition and teaching others how to respond to the needs of others. We hope you’ll join us!

Six Feet Over, Six Feet Under – A panel discussion on the rights of the dying and the bereaved @ Pendelton Room, Michigan Union
Feb 7 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Event organized by the Michigan Political Union, a student group interested in civil rights. Speakers include:

Merilynne Rush, on green burial and home funeral

Mike Mitchell, funeral director, on funeral laws in Michigan

Rebecca Wrock, attorney, on advance directives

Roxane Chan and Rebecca Lehto, physicians, on palliative care

Light refreshments provided

Ann Arbor Death Cafe @ Crazy Wisdom Bookstore
Apr 15 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Join us for lively discussion about life and death led by the participants and facilitated by Merilynne Rush and Diana Cramer. The Ann Arbor Death Cafe has been meeting every month since November, 2012, making us the longest standing continuously running Death Cafe in the world! For more information, please visit

Making Your Wishes Known @ Center for the Childbearing Year
Apr 18 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

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Merilynne Rush, RN, BSN, end-of-life doula trainer, and Dr. Sheryl L. Kurze, MD, board certified hospice and palliative care physician, lead a discussion of advance directives, advance care planning and the best ways to ensure that your wishes for end-of-life care are known and respected. Bring your healthcare advocate. Handouts and light refreshments provided. Donations to cover costs are welcome.