It may sound strange but discussing death can help us to appreciate our life and remind us to cherish and enjoy it.
That’s the concept of Death Cafes, which allow people to meet up in a relaxed setting to talk about what’s often viewed as a taboo subject. Over tea and cake, it’s an opportunity to share your thoughts, learn about other people’s experiences and to talk about your own.
The first Death Cafe was opened in London in 2011 by Jon Underwood, who got the idea after reading about ‘Café Mortal’ events in Switzerland where people gathered in public to talk about death. Since then, 5,000 Death Cafes have been held in over 50 countries.
It’s not just cafes where people can meet up – Death Cafes are held in restaurants, tents, parks, community spaces and people’s homes. They’re usually small gatherings of around six to twelve people and last for one or two hours. At some cafes, groups meet up each month, while others may run several sessions then take a break or get together a few times a year.
The most important thing about the cafes is that they are welcoming and informal. Everyone gets the chance to introduce themselves and explain what’s brought them there – though if you feel more comfortable not talking, particularly if it’s your first time, that’s perfectly fine. There are no set questions or topics, so each group can discuss whatever comes up as they get to know each other.
A discussion might be about end-of-life care, how to talk to someone who’s been bereaved or perhaps a more philosophical theme. Death Cafes aren’t designed for grief support or counselling sessions but exist to bring people together who want to discuss death and dying without being viewed as morbid.
For those who go to a Death Cafe, it’s a way of coming to terms with the inevitable, understanding and preparing for it – and embracing their life and being inspired to live it fully. You can find out more about Death Cafes at https://deathcafe.com/
* Austin’s are here to help you with funeral planning. Please get in touch with us on 01438 815555.