Death Cafe, West Norwood
Eight people attended the first Lambeth Independent Living and Carers' Partnership/Healthwatch Lambeth death cafe hosted by Otter Cafe.
The session was described as interesting, comfortable, moving, essential, positive, determined, inspirational, encouraging, motivating, open, intense and a bit funny - though it wasn't clear whether this was meant as amusing or strange!
Everyone had positive feedback about the discussion which covered a broad range of topics including child mortality, grief in the public eye, people's lack of experience of funerals, the poet Michael Rosen's image of a 'bird of death' on his shoulder to describe how others saw him after being bereaved, opportunities - or lack of them - to plan your own funeral, the language used to describe dealing with life-limiting illness - 'battling cancer' - which presents death as something to fight, the comfort of religion for some, and a description of a care home which supports its residents well to deal with the approach of the end of life.
This cafe had been well publicised locally by a consortium of voluntary and public sector organisations and booking wasn't required. But interestingly, all but one of the attendees came along after seeing a small poster in the cafe itself. The original poster had featured the death cafe skull on a teacup motif but cafe customers had fed back that it looked 'dark' so we provided another version without the skull.