Virtual Death Cafes
Posted by Cariboo Community Deathcaring Network on March 16, 2020, 3:51 p.m. 4 comments
THINKING ABOUT TAKING YOUR DEATH CAFE ONLINE? We've received a little flurry of emails asking about Virtual Death Cafes; how to plan, what works and what doesn't. The emails are coming to me from the main death cafe website where we've been posting our Virtual Death Cafes since January. I thought it might be helpful to share some information here for any other hosts who are thinking about taking their Death Cafe's online. Zoom is an excellent platform for these conversations. We generally get 40 to 50 people interested and far fewer who actually show up. About a third of those who express an interest. I like to have at least 10 people for good conversation flow. But as you know, it doesn’t really matter how many there are, it’s always a valuable event. They run just like an in-person Death Cafe except there are sadly no hugs
THINKING ABOUT TAKING YOUR DEATH CAFE ONLINE?
We've received a little flurry of emails asking about Virtual Death Cafes; how to plan, what works and what doesn't. The emails are coming to me from the main death cafe website where we've been posting our Virtual Death Cafes since January.
I thought it might be helpful to share some information here for any other hosts who are thinking about taking their Death Cafe's online.
Zoom is an excellent platform for these conversations. We generally get 40 to 50 people interested and far fewer who actually show up. About a third of those who express an interest. I like to have at least 10 people for good conversation flow. But as you know, it doesn’t really matter how many there are, it’s always a valuable event.
They run just like an in-person Death Cafe except there are sadly no hugs
I have experienced face to face Death Cafes here in Oakland and Alameda, CA. My first Zoom meeting on Sunday 5/3/2020 was a disappointment. Dominant person, selling a book and themselself, and not responsive to efforts to ask them to leave space for all. I post this as good ideas for a Zoom Cafe.
The ‘pattern’ of the evening:
At 7pm, I will do a short welcome and intro, including a bit about etiquette in groups on Zoom. We will then go into groups of 5 or 6. We will stay in the same group until 8.20pm, then come back together and I’ll do a short closing.
If you’ve been to a Death Cafe with me before, you may have noticed that I float between the groups, keeping an ear and eye on proceedings. During this event I’ll be able to do the same, on the screen.
I’ll open the space at 6.40pm so feel free to come early, especially if you might need some technical support with Zoom. Please arrive between 6.40pm and 7pm. Any later, and I’m afraid you won’t be able to join.
Please make sure you have supportive conditions for after leaving, in case you feel stirred or upset.
It’s important that you have a look at http://deathcafe.com/
The description of a Death Cafe, from the founders themselves is this:
“At a Death Cafe people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death.
Our objective is 'to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives'.
A Death Cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes.
It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session.
Death Cafes are always offered:
- On a not-for-profit basis
- In an accessible, respectful and confidential space with no intention of leading people to any conclusion, product or course of action.”
So for clarity, Death Cafe is not a therapy group, a professional bereavement support or a grief support resource.
If you are experiencing acute grief from a recent bereavement, please get in touch with me. I have resources to share and we can chat about the Death Cafe - what it is, what it isn't.
You may be holding old grief and this may be stirred during conversations in your group.
Every effort is made to ensure it is a safe space, but it is essentially our community coming together in random groups to talk and to listen.
There are no staff and no professionals there in their work capacity.
Every group will be different, and, if you come more than once, your experiences will vary.
My sincere request is that as a participant, you come with the intention to be accepting of others and to listen actively, with no need to ‘fix’ anything or give advice. Often just telling your story/sharing your fears or experiences can reveal what may feel like a ‘solution’, simply as a result of the telling.
You’ll be welcome to speak if you want to, in your group. Each person’s story is their own ~ stories don’t need to link together.
I also request that you try to speak from your direct, first-hand experiences, rather than just speaking about theory or concepts from things you may have read (although some of this is inevitable and can be helpful too.)
There is no cost.
There is no formal structure: it will be a confidential space, in which you’ll be invited to chat within your group about any issues concerning you around death, dying, funerals, memorials, end of life .…We’ll be there to hear each other's stories, fears, concerns, and anything we can offer each other.
In the past, the age range of participants has been from early 20s to those aged 80yrs+.
Participants may just be curious about the uncertainty that surrounds death and dying, they may have suffered bereavements, or they may have had a diagnosis and know they are in their own end of life phase. There may be other reasons for coming too.
All are welcome.
There’ll be no specific topics, nowhere to get to, no set questions as, when it comes to death, we all seem to have plenty to discuss already.
You and your group will be responsible for making sure that everyone has a fair chance to be heard.
Death Cafe gives us the permission we often don't experience in day to day life to talk about the one thing that is certainly going to affect us all.
Facing death and talking about it can help us to embrace life more fully.
If you work in any area concerned with death (eg end of life care, funerals, wills and probate) I ask that you please follow the guidelines carefully laid out by http://deathcafe.com/ and come as yourself, not as a professional who wants to give advice or publicity. Thank you.
Posted by James M Kirkpatrick
I'm Sabrina and I am an End of Life Doula. I'd love to help you host a virtual death cafe. I can be reached on EOL.Doula.Sabrina@gmail.com if easier to organise directly.
Posted by Sabrina
Have you figured out how to serve refreshments virtually? Maybe ask that everyone bring their own or something?
Posted by Bob Van Hook
I’m a former hospice bereavement worker and I have enjoyed death cafes. I’m thinking of hosting one virtually and saw in the guidelines that two practitioners are recommended. How could I find someone interested in co-hosting a virtual cafe?
Posted by Rabbit