I am preparing to host our EIGHTH Death Café on March 25! We have met monthly since our first Death Café in July, 2014. The group continues to grow and is a diverse bunch of folks, especially on the age spectrum. We have 20-somethings and 80-somethings! We are composed of college students, a clinical psychologist, a family practice physician, a baker, a Veteran, an artist, an occupational therapist, hospice volunteers, cancer survivors, a mortician-in-training, a diesel mechanic! We all love to talk about death and there is never a lull in our conversations.
Rebecca, our baker, whipped up some fine skeleton cakes one evening for our enjoyment (see picture). People just get in to this death stuff!
We read poetry. We discuss articles on death and dying. And once I dared to show the movie “A Will for the Woods” because people were so interested in green burial. I soon learned from Jon Underwood that was verboten where Death Cafes are concerned. You cannot have an agenda or sell a product or even have a theme. Or show movies. So we decided that we would heretofore refer to that particular meeting as a “Death Cafeteria!”
I read that at the Atlanta Death Café, they always end their meeting by singing “Happy Trails” (the song made famous by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans). So I printed off several copies and our group does the same at the conclusion of our meetings. You would be surprised how many people love to sing (even those who can’t carry a tune!!?).
I believe that the reason Death Cafes, like this one I facilitate each month in Mebane, are growing so quickly around the world is because a whole lot of people are ready to talk about death, dying and end of life issues. When we let go of our fear of death and bring it into our ordinary conversation---without the sugar coating---we can live with greater passion and joy.