By Nikki Glasser
Until he cared for his dying daughter two years ago, Said Osio could not have imagined having a conversation about death. As her caregiver, he realized, “There is a belief in our culture that if we talk about death with someone who is ill, it’s in a way acknowledging defeat.”
Osio co-directs Third Messenger, an informal community of Asheville-area death activists. “Acknowledging death is celebrating life,” he says. “It is just part of the equation.”
Fear of death and dying is the second-most common phobia in the United States, second only to fear of public speaking, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. So it may be surprising to learn that growing numbers of people are embracing death, contemplating it and planning for its inevitable arrival. There are weekendlong Death Salons springing up around the United States and the United Kingdom. And this September in Texas, there will be a death-themed film festival.