For most of human history … dying—like being born—was generally a family, communal, and religious event, not a medical one. Because many deaths occurred at home, people were likely to care for dying relatives and, thus, to have a fairly personal and direct experience with dying and death. In the United States, death at home in the care of family has been widely superseded by an institutional, professional, and technological process of dying. That process—its positive aspects notwithstanding—has distanced the final stage of life from the rest of living. In other words, we’re in new territory. The first generation of Americans is now living without any knowledge of how to “rebuild the shrine” of death. Americans are isolated from the process of dying. People are planning funerals and navigating close personal losses later in life and without any earlier exposure or “practice” with death. Funeral service is facing a perfect storm of factors that have obliterated our cultural literacy on death.