All the Ways Our Dead Still Speak
A Funeral Director on Life, Death, and the Hereafter
Caleb Wilde — 2022
What if our dead remain with us? What if closure is not the goal? No matter what you believe about the afterlife, what if the hereafter intersects with the here and now? Caleb Wilde, author of the acclaimed memoir Confessions of a Funeral Director, was a skeptic. The baffling stories people told him--deathbed visions of long-dead parents, visits from the other side--must be hallucinations or wishful thinking, he thought. But the more stories he heard, and the more he learned about non-Western understandings of body and spirit, the less sure he was. All the Ways Our Dead Still Speak takes readers on a lyrical and tender quest to encounter the hereafter. As Wilde picks up bodies, organizes funerals, and meets with grieving families in a small town in Pennsylvania, those who remain share with him--and us--what they experience in the thin places between life and death. Entwining these stories with his own as a sixth-generation funeral director, and with the findings of neuroscience and the solace of faith, Wilde creates a searching, reverent inquiry into all the ways our dead remain with us. In the process, he takes on prevailing dogmas about death: from a narrow Christian view of heaven and hell, to secular assumptions that death is the end, to pop-psychology maxims that say we all need "closure" after our loved ones die. The dead don't have to be buried twice, once in the ground and again in our hearts. In the pages of this unforgettable book, learn how love and memory and mystery fuse this world to the next.