It made me more relaxed and encouraged me to share my feeling with the group.
Learnt that most people are still afraid to discuss death. Death needs to be prepared well to face it.
Fascinated to hear other people’s experiences and I feel more positive about death
It was a free, open conversation and you didn’t have to say anything, you could just sit and listen
[feedback from some attendees at the South-East Brisbane Death Cafes, 2019)
My first exposure to a Death Cafe was October 2018 when my partner, Neale and I were in London visiting family. There is something quite inspiring about being surrounded by people who are curious, passionate, interesting, friendly and open to having conversations about death. I was not the only person for whom this was their ‘first’ Death Cafe experience. I had read a lot about them over the years and searched my local area to attend one during this time, but had not been successful. How ironic that I found one over 16,000 kms away!!!
Death Cafes have ‘no agenda’ other than to have open conversations about death. It is not a counselling session, but a 1.5-2 hour catch-up where you can share experiences, thoughts, personal stories and valuable information about death and dying. And I was pleasantly surprised at how the conversation “just flowed” in a respectful and non-judgmental way as we sat and drank tea/coffee and ate cookies.
I have a healthy perspective about death and dying and an awareness already about how important it is for us to engage in conversations, collective learning and community engagement in this area but I left that night enlightened and invigorated. I also left with a sense that we share the same end-of-life issues and experiences related to both positive and traumatic experiences.
Death is universal. 100% of eus are going to die.
Death is a natural part of Life.
Walking away that night I was armed with more knowledge and a sense that coming to talk about death really can be both interesting, enlightening and make you feel very much part of a ‘community’. So within my role as an End of Life Doula – and a passionate believer in Compassionate Communities – I stared the South-East Brisbane Death Cafe in April 2019. Since then I have:
- hosted and facilitated 5 Death Cafes – held at Holland Park, Brisbane
- been invited by Palliative Care Queensland to facilitate a Death Cafe at the 2019 Good Life Good Death Expo; and
- in 2020 will be facilitating 6 x South-East Brisbane Death Cafes (Holland Park) and commencing and running 6 x Bayside Death Cafes (Victoria Point)
If you are curious, interested, want to talk about death but don’t know how – then come and RSVP via Eventbrite (links above). Or if your are interested in attending a Death Cafe but don’t live in Brisbane or Redlands – then you can search for your locality worldwide on the Death Cafe website.
So what is a Death Cafe?
Jon Underwood decided in 2010 to “develop a series of projects about death one of which was to focus on talking about death. In November [of that year], Jon read about the work of Bernard Crettaz …[and] inspired by Bernard’s work, Jon immediately decided to use a similar model for his own project, and Death Cafe was born.” The Death Cafe model was developed by Jon and Sue Barsky-Reid (his mother) based on the ideas of Bernard Crettaz. Sadly, and unexpectedly, in 2017, Jon died from a brain haemorrhage caused by an acute form of leukaemia. He was only 44 years of age. But the Death Cafe momentum continues with Death Cafes being run over more than 69 countries and over 10,030 Death Cafes have been facilitated since 2011.
So why not come and join me and a group of interested others to ask, talk and listen about anything and everything related to death and it’s influence on life. Or look up a local Death Cafe in your area (remember they are world-wide!)