Death Cafe in Colliers Wood - 27 January 2019
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 has recently spoken about living with Parkinson’s Disease describing himself as approaching the end of his life.
We paused to consider what it is that really matters, and what it is that we are doing with this ‘one precious life’ (Mary Oliver). We wondered how it is to hold this at the forefront of our minds, before it confronts us at the end of our lives.
We proceeded to talk about Daoist teachings and the view of death as an integral part of life, which conceives of mourning as the celebration of life rather than the sorrow following a loss.
This philosophy, echoed by Irvin Yalom, would suggest that the problem is not death, but our fear of it. Life could not be what it is if it were not for the anticipation of death. Without death in its broadest sense, life would be static, transparent, predictable and tedious. Death does not inhibit or subvert life, but stimulates and drives it, making it more intense and poignant.
We talked about death as a rich opportunity to re-frame, re-evaluate, and re-focus. So, how should we live without regret?
With thanks to all who took part.
Future dates of the Colliers Wood Death Café may be found on the Facebook page as well as on deathcafe.com:
Meetings are planned for the following dates:
Sunday 24 February 2019
Sunday 24 March 2019
Sunday 28 April 2019