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D.C. has an angel of death, but it’s not what you think. Nicole Heidbreder, a birth doula turned hospice nurse, gathers Washingtonians at coffee shops for conversation surrounding grief and inevitable death. “There’s always a little bit of death in birth, like two snakes chasing each other’s tails,” Heidbreder reminds us.

The free gatherings, dubbed “Death Cafes,” welcome jokes, tears, and real stories free from judgement. Society tends to measure how one grieves—not enough or way too much. “One thing I’ve noticed is that because it is a room of strangers there’s an emotional distance that allows people to share in a way they might not if they were with friends,” Heidbreder says.

Author Lora Strum attended a Death Cafe at the Potter’s House in Adams Morgan. She encountered 30 strangers who traveled long and short distances to share. One attendee was grappling with the cyclical nature of life and death after losing five pregnancies in three years. 

Ultimately, Heidbreder believes society suffers if its people do not not properly grieve their losses. 

“Grief is a verb,” she says. “You have to write about it, you have to beat pillows, you have to go on walks, you have to talk about it, and, hopefully, there’s a process that happens so we’re a conduit of grief, not a container of it.”

—Laura Hayes (tips? Email

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:

  • As the number of untraceable “ghost guns” built from kits grows, the city seeks to ban them. [Post]

  • Three scooter companies have to skip town after losing their appeal. [Post]

  • There will soon be a Pierre L’Enfant statue representing D.C. at the U.S. Capitol. [DCist]

  • How D.C. could cut emissions and how rideshare services would be impacted. [WAMU]

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips?

  • D.C. Auditor report says there’s more to do to reduce emissions. [WAMU]

  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will not stop ICE’s warrantless searches of the state’s driver’s license database. [Post]

  • Moderates in Virginia are searching for a candidate. [Post]

  • Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pughsentenced to three years in prison for children’s book scheme. [NPR]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes(tips?

  • Garbanzo-gate: A Little Sesame shipment of 6,150 pounds of chickpeas worth $15,000 is missing. [WCP]

  • A kosher fine dining pop up is coming to the Trump hotel. [Washingtonian]

  • Critic Tom Sietsematries the Spanish-meets-Japanese food at Cranes. [Post]

  • Remembering America’s first celebrity chefs who were black. [Eater]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips?

  • Woolly Mammoth’s Shipwreck is a sharp satire of the Trump years. [WCP]

  • Liz At Large: “Certain” [WCP]

  • A new Netflix rom-com centers on D.C. and development. [DCist]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips?

  • Thirty runners with local ties will be running the Olympic Marathon Trials tomorrow in Atlanta. The race, which features about 500 women and 250 men who have qualified, will start around noon and be aired on NBC. [RunWashington, NBC Sports]

  • The Washington Mystics have signed South Korean national team player Lee-Seul Kang to a training camp contract. [High Post Hoops]

  • What happens when you score back-to-back 50-point games in the NBA? If you’re Bradley Beal, you get drug tested by the league. [Bleacher Report]

  • According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Washington NFL team’s Trent Williams wants to be traded if a new deal can’t be reached with the team. []

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full To Do This Week newsletter here. Tips?

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