Kandace Rosser ’19 and Zoe Sudduth ’19 think that we should talk more openly about death. The two have founded Death and Co., an online platform that aims to help people navigate the grieving process and its complex emotions in the supportive company of others.
“I think in terms of literature and things that are published, there’s often a lack of talk about death and grief, and I think that they’re very much subjects to be talked about,” Rosser said.
Rosser added that she wanted to create a platform “for people to know they’re not alone.”
Rosser and Sudduth created Death and Co. as an offshoot of the Hecates Society, an on-campus group for students who have lost loved ones or experienced death.
There were always great discussions during Hecates Society meetings, Sudduth said. But the two wanted to engage with a broader community.
“We know that there’s a wider audience that could benefit from a place where they could go to read about other people’s experience,” Sudduth said.
Death and Co. seeks submissions in the form of memoirs, essays, photos, drawings, and more. Rosser and Sudduth plan to debut content on their website on May 13, Mother’s Day.
Although they are considering an eventual literary publication, the two want to make sure the platform remains accessible to all — not only those who submit work, but also those who read it will be a part of the Death and Co. community, Sudduth explained.
“Grief is so wide and encompasses a lot of different people, in different areas.” Rosser added.
Rosser and Sudduth want the platform to extend beyond the University, spreading not only to other schools, but also to spaces outside the collegiate sphere.
There has been a wide range of positive responses to their initiative. Rosser explained that since beginning the project, they have received numerous emails from people, all of whom were grateful that Death and Co. was created.
“People are just happy that there’s a place for this to exist,” Rosser said.
Experiences with death are “a lot more common than people think,” she added.
“Everyone experiences something,” added Sudduth. The point of Death and Co. is to capture the variety of these experiences: “It’s different for everyone.”
Rosser and Sudduth hope that everyone, from contributors to readers, gain something positive from the platform.
“People are engaging in a community around grief and death,” said Sudduth. “Grief seems like it has to be negative, but it doesn’t have to be.”
The Hecates Society gathers on Wednesday nights for informal meetings.