A Death Café? That sounds quite scary, honestly. So why would I attend an event with such a name? Mostly because I was intrigued and it would take me out of my comfort zone which I have learned is usually a good thing.
I am on the Young Ambassador’s Board for Lost & FoundGrief Center and am truly passionate about their mission and purpose. When they told us about their first Death Café event at our last meeting, I had to learn more. I have lost a few loved ones and witnessed close people in my life lose someone important to them but my experience with death is pretty limited (this is a good thing). What I have learned from Lost & Found is that death is ok to talk about and everyone has their own death story to tell. The Death Café was created not only for those who’ve experienced loss but to change the thought that death is a taboo topic. The goal is to help people develop healthy perspective on end of life topics, in order to live life to the fullest.
The Death Café was held last night at Panera Bread and the turnout was great for a first time event. In attendance were Ministers, Morticians, Counselors, Widowers and just regular people who have lost loved ones or were curious like myself. We split into groups of people that didn’t know one another and openly discussed topics related to death. Our groups discussed questions like “What was your first experience with death” “What aspects of death are the hardest to deal with” “Did the recent events at the Boston Marathon change your view on death” “What are your feelings on death – afraid, dread, etc”. The room was filled with tons of conversations and stories. I heard so many touching accounts of people’s experiences and some so profound they kept me thinking.
One important pointer I will take away from the Death Café is what to do when a friend has lost a loved one. Everyone in the room who lost someone close to them agreed the best way to show your condolences is not by words but actions. Hold their hand, send a card, give them a hug…just be there. No single word will make them feel better, just your presence.
As a new mom, I have to think about death more than I ever have before. From who will take care of Sawyer if something unfortunate happens to his father or me and how we will talk to him about the subject. I will definitely attend the next Death Café and I suggest you think about going as well. There was nothing scary or morbid about it, just an open, honest conversation about one of the most inevitable experience we can all expect.
To learn about the Death Café movement: www.deathcafe.com/