NY Times best seller Caitlin Doughty visits Crestone End of Life Project

Caitlin Doughty, international death advocate and author of the New York Times bestseller, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory visited Crestone in June 2015 to meet with the Crestone End of Life Project (CEOLP) and learn about CEOLP’s history, practices and culture. Shadowed by Rebecca Mead, a reporter from The New Yorker and joined by her partner Landis,

Caitlin and company spent three days visiting Crestone getting to know CEOLP volunteers and learning more about CEOLP’s mission. [Ed. note: Ms. Mead’s New Yorker article, Our Bodies, Ourselves: A funeral director wants to bring death back home was published November 2015. The article includes Ms. Doughty’s CEOLP visit.]

CEOLP’s Paul Kloppenberg led a tour of the open air cremation site and answered Caitlin’s questions about the site, its evolution and the comparison between funeral home cremations and Crestone’s open air cremations.

Later the day, Caitlin and crew visited CEOLP Director Stephanie Gaines for tea and an in-depth conversation about CEOLP and the death advocacy movement. The day ended with a tour of the Baca and sunset at the big Stupa.

The following morning, Caitlin shared her death advocacy work at a special CEOLP volunteer breakfast at the Topping House. CEOLP volunteers learned about Caitlin’s work and her new venture, “Undertaking LA”, an end-of-life funeral home that incorporates death education, home funeral services and trainings and funeral home care of the body services for family and friends. Caitlin also shared her recent and upcoming travels to research cross-cultural traditions and practices related to death and dying.

Since her June 2015 visit, Caitlin has  returned to Crestone to attend a recent open-air cremation and observe the ceremony. We look forward to seeing Caitlin again in Crestone and share resources, information and community relating end-of-life issues, trends and advocacy.

Caitlin is also the founder of the Order of the Good Death group of death advocates, and the host of the popular YouTube series, Ask A Mortician. Caitlin herself is a mortician who takes an alternative view to the funeral industry she represents. She recently opened Undertaking LA, a progressive funeral home in Los Angeles.