It's the same amazing conversation!
As a long-time fellow Death Cafe facilitator, I was really curious about what it would be like to sit in on a Death Cafe run by someone else. And this wasn't just 'someone else,' but a kindred spirit in the facilitation of death as positive inspiration.
Stephen Garrett and I seem to be holding up the planet from both ends (him here in Canada and I in Australia) with our passion for all things death and dying. We have our own journeys that have brought us to facilitating Death Cafe's but it seems that our message is the same. We both believe that speaking about death takes away the stigma and allows people to fully live now before they die.
I am originally from Vancouver but have called Australia home for the last 13 years. I have been running Death Cafe's monthly since March 2013. I have been visiting friends and family here in Vancouver since the end of June. I had hopes of running my own Death Cafe whilst here but have been too busy having fun! I was really happy when I saw Stephen's Death Cafe. I was also excited to see how someone else could facilitate the conversation.
It was a 2 hour bus/train ride to get to this quaint little bookstore/cafe called Bean Around Books in Maple Ridge and, I tell you, it was worth it in spades!
I got there exceptionally early, 3 hours early, to have time to do some work on my laptop but as soon as I arrived I was plunged into conversations about death and dying. The owner, Dan, was sitting down with one of his newest customers when I walked in. I introduced myself and my role in running Death Cafe's and it was all on from there! I shared my experiences with the various regular customers who came and went. It was non-stop and I loved it!
As time approached for the group to assemble, it quickly became apparent that the space was going to pack out! People just kept coming in and we kept rearranging the furniture! Brilliant!
Something that astounded me was the range in ages with one third of the group aged under 20 and one youthful sprightly woman in her mid-80's.
Stephen lead us gently and passionately into talking about our experiences of death and dying and why were inspired to participate.
As occurs in running my own Death Cafe's, the stories and experiences were incredible. Each person provided a perspective on death and dying as unique as the people there.
My favourite part of the Death Cafe is when the conversation turns to how we can use death as a catalyst to live fully with the lives we have and the time we have left with those we love now. I love all aspects of the stories people bring to a cafe, the sadness, grief, loss and experience but this is only part of what goes on. Always, without a doubt, a shift happens after we share in our grief, fear and sadness. We shift to support, to caring and how we can help each other live now, love now and be prepared to let go.
It was great to speak as a fellow facilitator and share my experience in this role but also to just be a 'regular' participant, too.
This Death Cafe is run every other month at the moment but given how packed this one was, it may happen monthly pretty soon!
Thank you Stephen for your magic in supporting and inspiring people to live before they die!