Americans have had a fluid relationship with death. In the 19th century it was romanticized and even embraced. Today death is a forbidden topic – something relegated to sterile hospital wards and discussed infrequently. We’ve lost part of what it means to be human by ignoring and avoiding what we all will face. But among us are small groups of people that walk daily with those who are dying or have just died. They carry on traditions and rituals that help the bereaved mourn and grieve. They create space for our communities to remember and reflect. They even push against cultural assumptions and suggest new ways of thinking about death.