Death Cafe profile for Teddy


Location: United States

https://www.facebook.com/DeathCafeOcala

About Teddy:

I was born in the Netherlands, close to the German border.

Four months before I turned 5, my two year younger sister and I lost our mother unexpectedly as a result of a botched surgery, that should have been quite straight forward.

In the early 1960s not much was known about how children dealt with grief. My dad told us that mommy had died, gone to heaven and a few days later was buried. My sister and I were shielded from going to the viewing, or the funeral. My dad barely knew how to deal with his own emotions, let alone those of inquiring little minds.

All he knew was that he was left with two little kids, who needed a mother. It just so happened, that on the other side of the country, his aunt had a next door neighbor, whose younger sister had just lost her husband. This young woman loved children, but didn't have any of her own. So, both ladies decided to play matchmaker and arranged for my dad and the young widow to meet. They both liked each other and after a few more meetings decided they could make this work.

Five months after my mommy's death we got a new mom. And we moved to Rotterdam, where my dad had been able to find a new job with a company that had several locations throughout the country. He needed to get training at their headquarters and also had to go abroad for six weeks for additional training. We all moved in with our new mom's in-laws for four months. I don't remember a whole lot, but as my sister and I both are very intuitive and later became Social Workers, I can imagine how we picked up on all these adults around us, still working through the grief over the loss of a wife, a husband, son and brother.

A year later, when I was almost 6 and spend two weeks of vacation with my maternal grandparents, I asked my grandmother about my mom. The poor woman was so happy to be able to talk about her daughter. She had to promise my dad and our new mother, not to talk about her daughter with my sister and me. So, my grandmother and me promised each other that it would be our secret. For the next 10 years two weeks during the summer vacation every afternoon Oma and I would talk. I looked very much like my real mom and we both were all excited if I would do something that my mom did too. Or if I liked something she had liked as well.

I was devestated when my grandmother ended up dying suddenly as well, when I was 16. In fact, I was furious! I had 8 grandparents and the only one I could talk about my mom with, died. When we got the news, my first reaction was "I am going to the funeral!!" Nobody was going to keep me away this time!

Losing the two people I had loved the most like that, at such an early age, has made me very aware of death and the possibility of losing the people you love, in the blink of an eye.        In 1985 I wrote my thesis on Death and Dying for my BA in Social Work. But never did work as such in a health care setting, or anything else related to death.

I lost my husband fairly young too. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and his doctor told him he could start chemo treatment the next day. But he warned him, that the treatment would not cure him. At best it could add a few months to his life. My husband loved eating and when he heard that chemo often affects someones appetite, he decided that he valued his quality of life more than staying alive for maybe a few extra months, but not being able to enjoy that extra time.

He lived for another thirteen months after his diagnosis and was in Hospice care at home, for the last five months. He had time to spend with his friends and family. Was able to tell people how much he loved them.  And enjoyed a big steak and potatoes dinner only two days before he died a very peaceful death at home, with the wonderful care of Hospice of Marion county.

Our dog and I were by his side and one of our cats was sleeping in his lap. As I told him "I love you", just before he stopped breathing, I saw him word his usual "I love you too". There was so much tenderness, love and peace.

 


What brings you to Death Cafe?

During the first five years after my husband's passing, I joint the bereavement support group of Hospice and volunteered with them as well.

During that time, I realized, that my husbands way of dealing with his cancer, was very different from the way the majority of people with stage 4 cancer deal with it. The choices he made early on; to enjoy the time he had left, instead of undergoing all kinds of treatments. And the way he was able to openly talk about it, were not as usual as I thought.

He and I had talked about my childhood experiences with death. And I had told him that throughout highschool (age 15-18) I had worked part-time as an aid in several nursing homes. Where I saw things I didn't agree with.

It was the early seventies and I had to help a 95-yr. old patient eat. He had to, even though he was of sound mind and was begging me not to make him eat. I had asked the head nurse what to do and told her that I didn't think it was right to force an adult to eat if he said he didn't want to.  She agreed, she felt bad about it too. But those were the rules set by management. 

Another nursing home had a system where the sicker a patient became, the closer they were moved into a room by the elevator. And I knew lots of patients were very much aware of what that meant. I was sure they would want to talk about how they felt about that. But, I was there just to go around with coffee, tea, refreshments and meals. And the head nurse there was not very kind, so I didn't ask any questions.

I realized I would be too critical to become a nurse. But through the years I did follow the discussions in the media about patients' rights and about end-of-life choices. And since the 1970's there were many discussions about these subjects in the Netherlands. Now, 15 years after the law changed, so that doctors were able, under very strict guidelines, to help a patient, who wanted to die and met the strict guidelines for voluntary euthanasia and doctor assisted dying, that discussion is still very much alive in the Netherlands. Over 90% of the population is in favor of the legal changes, that make doctors assisted dying possible. But society as a whole and the medical field especially, is still very carefully exploring where the limits lie. I still follow these debates and discussions with great interest.

My husband and I talked about these things whenever it would come up. We would also talk about what we would want. And I think that, because we had discussed all kinds of aspects about death and dying in such a natural way. It did help him to make his decissions so fast after his diagnosis. We both were prepared for what was coming, which in a way did make it a little easier.  

Later I heard from so many others what their loved ones had endured. How they were all so unprepared and how they wished they had known so much more before ending up in such a life changing crisis.

In October of 2013, I was browsing the web looking for subjects on death and dying, when I found Death Cafe and immediately loved it's concept.  I could finally see a way to bring my fixation with death to good use!

The following month we had our first Death Cafe of Ocala meeting and have had one almost every month since. We usually have a small group of people coming, which provides for a more relaxed atmosphere in which people can share their experiences, thoughts and feelings on death, dying, losing a loved one, etc.

Hosting this group is very rewarding! Surprisingly, it is also a lot of fun and we laugh a lot.  I look forward to our monthly meetings every time.


What would you like your legacy to be?

I would hope, that the people we reach through Death Cafe, will become more aware of how much more intense we will live our life, once we know that it will end. We will love deeper, and will purposely create lasting memories to treasure for ever.  


Thoughts for sharing:

I think it is very important to be able to discuss such an important subject as death and dying. Something we will all have to go through at one time or another. 

I think it helps if you can talk about it, get more familiar with it. Know that there is such a thing as a "Good Death" I saw it when my husband died.

And I wish that for everyone. I believe we can all increase our chances of a good death, by preparing ourselves as much as we can.

I also believe, that we appreciate our life and our loved ones so much more, when we realize that it will end at some point. It is like we live more aware and so want to hold onto special moments. Print them in our memory, to remember and look back on later.

 


Contact Teddy



Teddy's posts on the Death Cafe website


Death Cafe: Death Cafe of Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Jan. 19, 2017, 7:16 a.m.



With Teddy and Marianne

Feb. 7, 2017, 1.00 p.m. - 2.30 p.m. (Est)

A voluntary donation to cover the costs of electricity used during the meeting


We feel it's very important to break the taboo around death and dying in our society.

People who have learned to become comfortable thinking and talking about death and ...



Death Cafe write up: Death Cafe Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Jan. 19, 2017, 5:43 a.m.

After having facilitated Death Cafe Ocala since late 2013, the past year has been very slow.

We had hoped, that movping our meetings to the other side of town, where there are a lot of retirement communities, would have more people come and attend our meetings.

We started meeting in the Choir room of a church. Signed on with MeetUp, in order to make it easier for people to find out about us.

In addition to a monthly Death Cafe meeting, we spun off a second group with a less confrontational sounding name "Peaceful Passing", where we offer guest-speakers, or watch a video about various aspects of death ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Oct. 20, 2016, 6:23 p.m.



With Teddy

Dec. 6, 2016, 6.30 p.m. - 8.00 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake! Any donations for use of electricity will be greatly appreciated.


Our monthly Death Cafe meetings are held in a friendly, relaxed and confidential atmosphere. We encourage everyone to share their experiences, thoughts, feelings and ideas about death and dying.

Even ...



Death Cafe write up: Death Cafe of Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Oct. 20, 2016, 6:13 p.m.

After having experimented with different locations since our start up in November 2013. We decided to try the other side of town. Our monthly meetings have usually been attended by the same group of people, averaging 3-5, with 2 or 3 new people once in a while.

We had meetings in several restaurants, which often turned out to be too noisy and disruptive. Then for over a year we met in my living room. Since March 2016 we're meeting in the Choir Room of a church on the side of town, where many senior communities are located. This led to several of our regular attendees opting out ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe Ocala

Posted by Teddy on May 3, 2016, 5:26 a.m.



With Teddy

Nov. 1, 2016, 6.30 p.m. - 8.00 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake! Any donations for use of electricity will be greatly appreciated.


Our monthly Death Cafe meetings are held in a friendly, relaxed and confidential atmosphere. We encourage everyone to share their experiences, thoughts, feelings and ideas about death and dying.

Even ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Nov. 3, 2015, 3:29 p.m.



With Teddy & Marianne

May 3, 2016, 6.30 p.m. - 8.00 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake! Any donations for use of electricity will be greatly appreciated.


Our Death Cafe meetings are held in a friendly, relaxed and confidential atmosphere. We encourage everyone to share their experiences, thoughts, feelings and ideas about death and dying.

Even though ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Nov. 3, 2015, 3:19 p.m.



With Teddy

Nov. 19, 2015, 2.00 p.m. - 3.30 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake



Death Cafe write up: Death Cafe Ocala

Posted by Teddy on June 25, 2015, 5:18 p.m.

As our small group of "regulars" got together today, we decided to watch a couple of TedTalks on YouTube about death and dying in different cultures.

Will post them on our Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/DeathCafeOcala

Getting close to our two years anniversary and still having fun :-)

Teddy



Death Cafe: Death Cafe Ocala

Posted by Teddy on April 30, 2015, 11 a.m.



With Teddy

Nov. 19, 2015, 2.00 p.m. - 3.30 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake!


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more. We meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with beverages and cake. And ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe Ocala

Posted by Teddy on April 30, 2015, 10:59 a.m.



With Teddy

Aug. 27, 2015, 2.00 p.m. - 3.30 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake!


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more. We meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with beverages and cake. And ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe Ocala

Posted by Teddy on April 30, 2015, 10:59 a.m.



With Teddy

July 30, 2015, 2.00 p.m. - 3.30 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake!


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more. We meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with beverages and cake. And ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe Ocala

Posted by Teddy on April 30, 2015, 10:58 a.m.



With Teddy

June 25, 2015, 2.00 p.m. - 3.30 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake!


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more. We meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with beverages and cake. And ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe Ocala

Posted by Teddy on April 30, 2015, 10:55 a.m.



With Teddy

May 28, 2015, 2.00 p.m. - 3.30 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake!


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more. We meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with beverages and cake. And ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe Ocala

Posted by Teddy on April 30, 2015, 10:53 a.m.



With Teddy

April 30, 2015, 2.00 p.m. - 3.30 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake!


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more. We meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with beverages and cake. And ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Dec. 6, 2014, 6:26 p.m.



With Teddy

March 26, 2015, 2.00 p.m. - 3.30 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake!


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more. We will meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with beverages and cake ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Dec. 6, 2014, 6:25 p.m.



With Teddy

Jan. 28, 2016, 2.00 p.m. - 3.30 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake!


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more. We will meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with beverages and cake ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Dec. 6, 2014, 6:07 p.m.



With Teddy

Jan. 29, 2015, 2.00 p.m. - 3.30 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake!


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more. We will meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with beverages and cake ...



Press: Death Cafe: frank talk about the end of life

Posted by Teddy on Oct. 3, 2014, 11:54 a.m.


Death Cafe: Death Cafe of Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Sept. 30, 2014, 8 p.m.



With Teddy

Jan. 29, 2015, 2.00 p.m. - 3.30 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more. We will meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with beverages and cake ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe of Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Sept. 30, 2014, 7:58 p.m.



With Teddy

Nov. 24, 2014, 7.00 p.m. - 8.30 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more. We will meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with beverages and cake ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe of Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Sept. 30, 2014, 7:51 p.m.



With Teddy

Oct. 27, 2014, 7.00 p.m. - 8.30 p.m. (EST)

Free beverages and cake


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more. We will meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with beverages and cake ...



Carrie Seidman of the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, Florida did several interviews with two Death Cafes (in Sarasota and Ocala), as well as a few other organizations related to death and dying.

Alan Young of the Ocala Star Banner was the photographer. The article was published in both newspapers.

Thanks to ...

Sarasota Herald Tribune and Ocala Star Banner: http://finaljourney.heraldtribune.com/extra.aspx?page=2

Death Cafe write up: Death Cafe of Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Sept. 30, 2014, 6:34 p.m.


The last three Death Cafe of Ocala meetings flew by! We are still the same, consistent group of 6-10 people, who meet monthly. 

And we were interviewed by Carrie Seid, a journalist with the Sarasota Herald Tribune. Her article was published in Sarasota,http://finaljourney.heraldtribune.com/extra.aspx?page=2  as well as in the Ocala Star Banner http://www.ocala.com/article/20140915/ARTICLES/140919801/1455?p=5&tc=pg&tc=ar

Alan Young was the photographer.   I would like to thank everyone who participated in these interviews!

 



Death Cafe: Death Cafe of Ocala

Posted by Teddy on June 27, 2014, 6:58 p.m.



With Teddy

July 28, 2014, 7.00 p.m. - 8.30 p.m. (EST)

No cost


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more.

We will meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with coffee, tea and ...



Death Cafe write up: Death Cafe of Ocala

Posted by Teddy on June 27, 2014, 6:49 p.m.


Our small, but consistent Death Cafe group had another very informative meeting. As we are not really getting that many new members and we  pretty much know each other's story, we decided that for our June Meeting we will each watch the movie "Wit" with Emma Thompson before the meeting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IyEsnzH1uE

 

 



Death Cafe: Death Cafe of Ocala

Posted by Teddy on March 12, 2014, 10:39 a.m.



With Teddy

May 19, 2014, 7.00 p.m. - 8.30 p.m. (EST)

Entry is free. However, we do expect you to call and let me know that you are coming


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more.

We will meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with coffee, tea and ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe of Ocala

Posted by Teddy on March 12, 2014, 9:40 a.m.



With Teddy

April 28, 2014, 7.00 p.m. - 8.30 p.m. (EST)

Entry is free. However, we do expect you to pay for your own drinks and food.


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more.

We will meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with coffee, tea and ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe of Ocala

Posted by Teddy on March 12, 2014, 9:39 a.m.



With Teddy

March 31, 2014, 7.00 p.m. - 8.30 p.m. (EST)

Entry is free. However, we do expect you to pay for your own drinks and food.


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more.

We will meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with coffee, tea and ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe of Ocala's 4th meeting

Posted by Teddy on Jan. 8, 2014, 11:31 a.m.



With Teddy

Feb. 24, 2014, 7.00 p.m. - 7.00 p.m. (EST)

free



Death Cafe: Death Cafe of Ocala's 3rd meeting

Posted by Teddy on Jan. 8, 2014, 11:19 a.m.



With Teddy

Jan. 27, 2014, 7.00 p.m. - 8.30 p.m. (EST)

Entry is free. However, we do expect you to pay for your own drinks and food.


We want our Death Cafe meetings to help create an awareness of death and appreciation of life more.

We will meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere, with coffee, tea and ...



Death Cafe write up: Death Cafe of Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Jan. 8, 2014, 10:56 a.m.


On December 30th 2013 we had our second Death Cafe in Ocala.

As our first meeting place was in a restaurant and quite noisy, we looked for another location. Which we found in Mojo's Grill in Ocala. They graciously offered us the use of their seperate room free of charge. It can seat about 20 people, so there is room to grow, as there were 11 of us this time.

Three new people came, so we pretty much did another introduction round, where everyone shared some of their experiences with death.

As it was the night before New Years Eve, the people in the main restaurant were ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe of Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Dec. 11, 2013, 9:28 p.m.



With Teddy

Dec. 30, 2013, 7.00 p.m. - 8.30 p.m. (est)

Attendance is free, but you are expected to pay for your own drinks and food/dessert


We want to have our Death Cafe meetings to create an awareness of death and apreciate life more. We will meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere with coffee, tea and ...



Death Cafe write up: Death Cafe of Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Dec. 3, 2013, 6:45 p.m. 2 comments


On Monday November 18th 2013 Death Cafe of Ocala had our first meeting. Thirteen of us got together at Horse and Hounds restaurant to enjoy their wonderful desserts with coffee, tea, or another drink. And to share our reason for coming to this meeting.
We met from 7:00pm to 8:30pm and were just barely able to finish our introduction round. Everyone was eager to share their personal stories and the questions they had. So many different aspects of death and dying were briefly mentioned. That I think at the next meeting we need to see which topics we want to discuss more in depth and prioritize ...



Death Cafe: Death Cafe of Ocala

Posted by Teddy on Nov. 9, 2013, 12:07 p.m.



With Teddy

Nov. 18, 2013, 7.00 p.m. - 8.30 p.m. (EST)

Entrance is free, but you will need to pay for your own drinks, desset and/or dinner.


We want to have our Death Cafe meetings to create an awareness of death and apreciate life more. We will meet in a safe, friendly atmosphere with coffee, tea and ...





Contact Teddy

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