Day of The Dead

A write up of Death Cafe Edmonton

By Gina Vliet

We held our first Death Café Edmonton on November 1st, the Day of The Dead. Just because we’re fun that way.
The event seats had sold out quickly, but as with any free event, about half didn’t show up. Not to worry, our empty seats were taken by some wait listers, and a few people who just happened upon the event, which was most excellent. We ended up with two perfectly sized groups of four, which kept the conversation lively and everyone engaged.

I started by thanking the venue, made sure everyone had all the tea and snacks they wanted, then went into the history of Death Café, the principles, and the rules of engagement. I had rehearsed, but still used my notes so I didn’t miss anything. Newby nerves! Both conversation circles had lots to say, so after we did introductions and round table, I just let them talk, as that is the point, I believe.

Time flew. The discussion drifted from green burial, to mortuary traditions in various cultures, to burial versus cremation, to funeral planning, and onward. Strangers engaged each other respectfully, and we all had some laughs, learned some new things, and just got comfortable discussing something many people find difficult to talk about. Not this group, mind you, but some out in the world.

I wrapped up the discussion after 75 minutes. Some participants stayed to continue the discussion, some planned on coming back to future cafés. I thought that was a good sign. I really enjoyed facilitating the meetup, and look forward to more, and perhaps getting participants to host their own offshoots.

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