Death can be a stormy affair

A write up of Death Cafe Edmonton

By Gina Vliet

There was an even half dozen of us for this Tuesday evening gathering, December 4, 2018. All but one were returning attendees, which was nice to see. We were pretty much the only people in the café, as the weather was a bit nasty, but we made up for it in personality!

For this week’s meet, the group wanted to begin by addressing the question I had posted on our MeetUp page, “How has having someone die around a special date/holiday impacted you? Where do mourning/grieving them and celebrating their life intersect?”

We talked about loss and loneliness, especially around the holidays, and how our relationship to the memories of the dead can be unpredictable, but that it becomes less of a roller coaster as time goes by. The waves, though still up and down, becomes gentler over time, making it easier to remember the good times without getting as sad.

We talked about how people experience death and the emotions associated with death in many ways and on different schedules. The discussion touched on the assumptions we have about social norms surrounding death and dying, and how that has impacted us.  Things like remarriage after a loss of a spouse, or how people treat someone who seems to be less impacted by a death than they think they ought to be.

We had a good laugh at some of the group shared stories of the misadventures of ashes and urns, and we closed on a revelatory discussion about how we practice for loss our whole lives, through managing change, and that sometimes we aren’t impacted by death like we think we should be, mostly because we may have been desensitized to loss through certain life experiences, or becasue we’re just really resilient to change.

It was a good night, even if it did end up in a blizzard! We are all looking forward to the next session.

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