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Sometimes death is personal. This week, death is personal indeed.

This week’s special guest, Robert “Hoff” Hoffman, will not be with us, except in spirit. Hoff, a well-known and beloved friend to the Congressional Cemetery community and beyond, has died. This week’s activity was something Hoff and I had been planning for months as his big return to Congressional after an extended trip, and his first time at Death Doula Days, which he has been an integral part of as an advisor, cheerleader, and this week our long-planned special guest.

I am, like many people I know, gutted at the unexpected loss of this extraordinary person. In the time since I learned of his death I have marveled at the impact he had on me, and the lessons I believe he would want me and others to take from his passing. I have never known anyone as interested in death nor someone so enthusiastic in embracing death awareness. It was this shared interest that made us fast friends. He always made me laugh so hard and his support and kindness had the quality of making me feel seen and valued. In this I was not alone: others have shared the same experience. We don’t get a lot of good friends in life, but especially not ones who make such a mark in so little time.

So, Hoff was to be our guest around the table this week and we were going to listen to his musical playlist for his deathbed: his ‘transition playlist.’ He had very specific choices and each song had a meaning and a place in his memories. We worked together to set them up in my Apple Music playlists by topic. They run almost exactly three hours, which is also the length of Death Doula Days every Saturday. Clever, Hoff. Well played.

Hoff believed in an existence after death. He left very generous descriptions on how to reach him after his death, and messages he wanted to be read, and audio messages, too. Do yourself a favor and read it and listen. I believe that would make him happy: https://www.hoffharmonica.com/end-of-life

He also left his playlist, and so we are still going to keep this Saturday as his day. He planned to explain every song, but we’re going to just experience together as we listen. And, in his honor and with him looking over our shoulders, we can all work on our own playlists together.

If you knew Hoff, please join us. If you didn’t know him, it’s not too late: come get to know him through his playlist. He would LOVE that, I truly believe. There may be tears, of course, but I don’t think he’d mind. He wanted everyone to think deeply with courage and a sense of humor about mortality and he demonstrated it. We will follow his example.

Bring your musical playlists, and join us for a musical visit with Hoff. Sweet treats and tea provided. RSVP appreciated. Donations to our amazing Congressional Cemetery deeply appreciated.

Hug your people,



For more dates and activities check the HCC website and we invite you to sign up for our mailing list: Death Doula Days at HCC