Death Cafe write-ups
The event was part of my Dark Tourism course. Many of the local Death Cafe events are not language-accessible for ASL users so I hosted the event.
My students made cookies and I brought a cake. Everyone stayed beyond the time and while it took a bit for them to get the discussion started, once it started they did not want to stop.
I always enjoy freshmen/ upper class student-interactions. Two of my freshmen from an earlier class were trying to sneak in when I told them they were invited. They stayed until the end.
Another bitterly cold evening, but we prevailed! As all drooled over the food and cakes people were noshing, we began with our perceptions on final methods: how people feel about body disposition. We covered composting of remains, green burials, two kinds of cremation, embalming, and other corpse-related perceptions. This led to some laughs about spreading ashes, of course, because what cremation discussion is complete without someone getting grandma’s ashes in their eye/hair/mouth?
We tackled fears around declining health in old age and if we’d want to die before or after our loved ones. Urban isolation, aging in place, and choosing the right assisted living ...
New Year, new venue for us this Winter Wednesday night, January 30, 2019, and a conversation circle made up of local Edmontonians as well as people travelling in from St. Albert, Leduc, and Stony Plain. The meetup’s conversation was lively and at times emotional, as we discussed for starters, did we want to die alone or surrounded by people. We talked about the sacredness of witnessing a loved one’s death, and how some would prefer for themselves that this last rite of passage be by invitation only.
This led to conversation about Near Death Experiences (NDE’s) from both the scientific and personal experience perspectives. Then ...
We had a full house with several new members and truly different topics. We discussed some of the issues around violent and unexpected deaths, such as war; member's experiences with other Death Cafe meetings, the benefits (as always) of having advanced directives, fear of death, and how being aware of the finite nature of life helps improve the lives we are living. This was a much more serious meeting than some of our previous ones, but there were still a lot of laughs and lively differences of opinion.
Please join us next month.
February’s death café Iowa was held at Plymouth place on Ingersoll. Buffy Peters and Becca Suvalsky (members of the Young Bereavement Professionals Group) facilitated the group. We had 7 women in attendance. All participants ranged in ages and professions.
This month’s death café was a little smaller due to impending weather. However, the members that did attend brought several interesting topics to discuss. Topics included discussions about death with dignity and the book “Final Exit” by Derek Humphry. The group also discussed death of a pet, feelings when a loved one dies, and how group members wish to feel when they die. Several group members shared ...
For January’s Death Café Iowa we met at a new location this month. The group met at Plymouth Place on Ingersoll. Buffy Peters and Becca Suvalsky (members of the Young Bereavement Professionals Group) facilitated the group. We had11 people in attendance, 4 men and 7 women, and participants ranged in ages and professions.
We had several new group members in attendance. Introductions focused on what brought the new and returning group members to death café. The overall consensus was curiosity. Several topics were brought forward for discussion during this month’s death café. Topics such as celebration of life services, death with dignity act, the Swedish death ...
Four of us gathered for the first meeting of the Colliers Wood Death Café of 2019.
We began acknowledging the inescapable reality of old age, sickness and death as we asked ourselves where we are today with death.
One attendee posed the question that, if life is Mexican Wave, which we stand up and form part of just temporarily, what are we doing whilst we stand up? We reflected on our own experience of lives being cut tragically short, and the remarkable preciousness of each life. To not acknowledge death is to not fully appreciate life.
Our conversation made references to Derren Brown, and to Billy Connolly who ...
Our Wed 02.20.19 discussion included seven of us and the main topic that emerged was the definition of “suicide.” Some folks maintained that this the concept is used to cover too many unalike cases that call for greater distinction. The relations between sacrifice and suicide were considered. Significant disagreement occurred over the morality of suicide. Context to consider is that Oregon is one of eight U.S. states, and the first, to legalize physician-assisted death.
One of our interloculars noted that opioid related deaths are greater than automotive related deaths. There was general skepticism around the table ragarding that claim. It turns out that she may ...
On an extremely cold Saturday afternoon in early February, a group of people came together for AHPCA’s first-ever Death Cafe. This is the story of how we got there and what happened.
In late summer 2018, Laura Walsh approached AHPCA, wondering if we would like to join forces to host a Death Cafe. Laura, a registered psychologist, became interested in the rituals surrounding death while she lived in Asia. She found people dealt with subject of death much more openly than western cultures and upon relocating to Calgary, she was surprised at the reluctance to talk about it. After she listened to a BBC podcast regarding Death ...
We are sorry to see Stephanie leave our hosting team for Death Cafe- Warren. Though we are happy for her as her life is filled with her work in Hospice and a new marraige.
We are pleased to announce that we have a new member of our host team. Welcome Joe Knight! Joe is a Board Member for the National End-of-Life Doula Association, a Certified Medical Hypnotherapist and an End of Life Doula. We are looking forward to gain from your expertise and wonderful energy.
November saw the fifth meeting of the Colliers Wood Death Café. Kevin and I co-hosted the event which was attended by three people who had been before, and one person who was attending for the first time.
Our discussion began with some reflections on the experience of watching a parent become seriously unwell before rallying and normal life resuming, contrary to medical opinion and prognosis.
We talked about the impact of watching someone get seriously ill, and ideas around Bucket Lists and the revision of priorities should time suddenly feel short. We shared our own experience of gaining clarity about what’s important, and what’s not, and ...
We gathered on a cloudy afternoon at the Bridge space in Bali, halfway through the electricity went out which only added to the feeling of intimacy that had been growing. We had a mid-sized group of 10 people.
We mostly discussed our thoughts and feelings towards having conversations with loved ones about wishes for our own deaths and how to possibly initiate that conversation. Another topic that we touched on was how each person felt about their mortality, and how precious seizing the present moment is.
With 15 participants plus myself, this was one of the largest Death Cafes I've facilitated. It was also the first one held at the Desert Foothills Library, which is an outstanding facility with a vibrant community (hence the large turnout). As is typical for Death Cafes, we had lively, interesting discussions on topics such as the difference between resignation and acceptance, how to talk to those recently bereaved, and how dying can be a time of deep processing--even when the dying person is unconscious--at a level the living don't fully appreciate. Really looking forward to March's gathering!
Three of us held a sustained conversation about the experience of "emptiness" related to death and loss.