Life-changing discussion at this Death Cafe
This was a Death Cafe I will never forget. We had a good turnout, which always a pleasant surprise. I never know how many people will come since I don’t require RSVPs. We had 22 guests and 2 hosts which meant an animated room at the Westerville Library. I always do small group rotations and then at the end, we have a group discussion.
Phil, a musician with the Drowsy Lads who happens to be a fan of Death Cafe brought his banjo and played an instrumental tune for the attendees while they were filling out their surveys.
When we had the big group discussion, my friend S., who has been to a dozen Death Cafes, tentatively raised her hand. She said she had permission from her table to share her story. She told the story briefly at the event and then told me in greater detail when we went to lunch after. She was still processing all that had happened.
When the small group was all introducing themselves to each other, S. held back. She has been to several Death Cafes and usually goes last to give the newer people a chance to express themselves. She told the group that she had to think about death at a young age when she was a nurse in the neuro unit of a hospital. She had many difficult cases at that time that she was unprepared for. That was all that she had shared at the table. While she was talking, there was another attendee, M. who was writing notes. After she finished there was a lull in the conversation and everyone looked at M. Tentatively M. began to share a vision she had about a young person that she thought was one of S.’s patients. As S. described it, M. started with a detailed physical description. By description alone, S. knew who M. was talking about, but M. went on to say the patient’s first name as well as describe a significant moment that happened between S. and her patient. The message for S. from the patient via M. was one of eternal gratitude. This was 39 years ago. As you can imagine, this was an impactful moment for my friend, but as S. described it, everyone at the table was in tears as they saw the impact it had on her. What was even more remarkable was that M. does not consider herself “psychic” so it was as much a surprise to her as it was to S.
As people were leaving, another attendee had told me that she was contemplating a trip to Ireland but hadn’t felt brave enough to go for it. She took Phil’s performance as a ‘sign’ that she was meant to take that trip.
Every Death Cafe is unique and precious in its own way. I really enjoy the conversations and the connections that people make in a short period of time. I am so grateful to Jon Underwood for his openness to share the Death Cafe concept with the world. I sure do miss him. This Death Cafe is one I would’ve wanted to share with him.