All the Ways Our Dead Still Speak

A Funeral Director on Life, Death, and the Hereafter

All the Ways Our Dead Still Speak

A Funeral Director on Life, Death, and the Hereafter

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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.


"A stunning book about death, life, faith, and the love that binds all of us to each other. The story Caleb Wilde weaves together feels, at times, like a near-death experience: a powerful, hopeful, and life-altering encounter with the other side."

Matthew Paul Turner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of What Is God Like? and When God Made You

"There's a weird hush around afterlife connections. But Caleb Wilde's book will help peel away any shame or shyness you have around holding space for those you love."

Megan Devine, author of It's OK That You're Not OK

"Caleb Wilde once again brings us into the funeral parlor of our hearts and lets us all weep. A delicious and intimate look at how a slight shift in our understanding of death can bring peace and healing. All of us can learn to grieve and reconnect with our beloved ancestral roots because of Wilde's words."

Kevin Garcia, mystic theologian and practitioner, and author of Bad Theology Kills

"This deeply reassuring book is for anyone who has ever grieved deeply, wondered where their loved ones are, and yearned to stay connected to them."

Claire Bidwell Smith, author of Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief

"I found All the Ways Our Dead Still Speak speaking volumes. But don't be misled: what appears to be a book about death is actually a book about life and its deepest, most imperative questions. This gifted and perceptive writer peers into our souls, takes us down roads traveled and roads yet to be traveled, and brings us home."

Philip Gulley, author of If Grace Is True and the Harmony and Porch Talk series

"All the Ways Our Dead Still Speak is a deep, intentional exploration of lineage, ancestry, and the living, breathing influence and pervasiveness of the dead. In beautiful and exploratory writing, Caleb Wilde reminds us that the dead--and their legacies, stories, and wounds--do not live 'back there,' but 'up here,' alongside us each and every day."

Shelby Forsythia, author of Your Grief, Your Way

"Caleb Wilde's stories of life, love, and death as a funeral director reveal all the ways the dead remain with us and remind us who we are. As I read, I allowed myself to feel closer to my own parents. This book reminded me that I will always carry their love and that their voices will carry me too."

Mallory McDuff, author of Our Last Best Act: Planning for the End of Our Lives to Protect the People and Places We Love


"In a wonderfully conversational tone, Wilde tackles themes of mortality, history, and justice with masterful felicity, delivering bracing big picture ideas about death and community. The result is an exceptionally soulful and insightful take on identity and the ways the dead linger among the living."

—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506471617
  • eBook ISBN 9781506471624
  • Dimensions 5.75 x 8.75
  • Pages 242
  • Publication Date May 24, 2022