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About Caleb Wilde
Caleb Wilde is a partner at his family’s business, Wilde Funeral Home, in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania, where he lives. He writes the popular blog Confessions of a Funeral Director, and recently completed postgraduate work at Winchester University, England, in the program, “Death, Religion and Culture.”
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The blogger behind Confessions of a Funeral Director—what Time magazine called a "must read"—reflects on mortality and the powerful lessons death holds for every one of us in this compassionate and thoughtful spiritual memoir that combines the humor and insight of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes with the poignancy and brevity of When Breath Becomes Air.
We are a people who deeply fear death. While humans are biologically wired to evade death for as long as possible, we have become too adept at hiding from it, vilifying it, and—when it can be avoided no longer—letting the professionals take over.
Sixth-generation funeral director Caleb Wilde understands this reticence and fear. He had planned to get as far away from the family business as possible. He wanted to make a difference in the world, and how could he do that if all the people he worked with were . . . dead? Slowly, he discovered that caring for the deceased and their loved ones was making a difference—in other people’s lives to be sure, but it also seemed to be saving his own. A spirituality of death began to emerge as he observed:
- The family who lovingly dressed their deceased father for his burial
- The act of embalming a little girl that offered a gift back to her grieving family
- The nursing home that honored a woman’s life by standing in procession as her body was taken away
- The funeral that united a conflicted community
Through stories like these, told with equal parts humor and poignancy, Wilde offers an intimate look into the business and a new perspective on living and dying
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.