Belleville Death Cafe

Belleville Death Café Summary 4202018
The summary for this meeting contains information about Grief Coaching, Grief Recovery, and Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs. Our discussions were varied and since there were only a few of us, conversation was guided more than usual and we ended discussion about 30 minutes earlier than normal. The information is by no means, legal advice and should only be used for educational purposes. That is fitting considering the purpose behind the Death Café is to educate individuals about death to dispel avoiding or fearing aspects of death. When that happens, one can then proceed with living. Death is as natural and inevitable as birth.
What is Grief Coaching, you ask? It is very similar to Life Coaching. Both involve listening, asking questions to assist and give direction, and help in providing clarity and focus in respect to goals and behaviors. Perspective appears to be key. There are definite goals and behaviors associated with grief and the one perspective that eludes many who have lost loved ones, is that grief is TRANSFORMATIONAL.
How we choose to transform is up to us. With transformation comes change and adjusting to change can be exhausting, stifling, and/or inspiring. One goal of grief is much like death, is to understand it. It is difficult to plan and make choices if we do not understand the process. It is also difficult to dispel the messages we have learned about grief and the behaviors to exhibit. Here are a few examples and perhaps if anyone else can come up with more, we can discuss this further at the next Death Cafe:
Be strong for others
Don't be sad
It is time to move on
Grief will rock one's world and upset life balance. There are approximately eight sections of life that require balance. They include physical environment, personal growth, friends and family, health, money, significant other, fun and recreation, and career. Think of it as an eight spoke wheel - throw a cog in and break a connection and that wheel will not be in balance. It is closely associated with Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs: Physiological needs - basics such as food, water, warmth, and rest; Safety needs - also a basic pertaining to security and being safe; Psychological needs of Belongingness and love needs - intimate relationships, friends, family as well as Esteem needs - prestige and feeling of accomplishment; last but not least is Self-fulfillment needs of self-actualization - achieving one's full potential, including creative activities. One can pretty much see how it works together.
Another similarity is that of funerals and celebrations of life. Both are ceremonies involving a gathering of people who share a common loss. One is more rooted in tradition, while the other is the result of recent changes in social values. Funerals help bereaved family and community, publically acknowledge the death of one of their own; support the grieving family by surrounding them with caring friends, co-workers, and neighbors; and move the deceased from one social status to another. Recently, I just found out about the National Museum of Funeral History, so maybe that is a topic for another day.
Celebrations of life are more reflective and tell the story of the deceased. People come together to celebrate the uniqueness and achievements of the deceased. I think I personally prefer the celebration of life because it gives one more time tp plan, allowing for better decisions not clouded by the sadness of loss. Jumping back on the proverbial horse - you can plan it all yourself (funeral, celebration of life, or both) to ensure you have the "last" word.

The next meeting of Belleville Death Café will be on Saturday, May 19 from 6pm – 8pm at Miscellanea House Café. I’ll post a reminder closer to that date.

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