Communicating the importance of communicating

A write up of Death Cafe Edmonton

By Gina Vliet

Another bitterly cold evening, but we prevailed! As all drooled over the food and cakes people were noshing, we began with our perceptions on final methods: how people feel about body disposition. We covered composting of remains, green burials, two kinds of cremation, embalming, and other corpse-related perceptions. This led to some laughs about spreading ashes, of course, because what cremation discussion is complete without someone getting grandma’s ashes in their eye/hair/mouth?

We tackled fears around declining health in old age and if we’d want to die before or after our loved ones. Urban isolation, aging in place, and choosing the right assisted living arrangements for solo adventurers, plus making plans for surviving partners were all discussed. We talked about what happens if the healthier person/younger person dies first/suddenly, and having a back-up plan. As has been the norm, aging poorly was generally a greater fear than death itself. And of course, the option of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) came up, as this is a relatively new option in Canada.

Lastly, we continued to discuss the practicalities of managing End of Life (EOL) plans, and why it’s important to have those important conversations on an ongoing basis. One participant who recently lost a parent spoke about how their siblings have all made the commitment to have monthly dinners together through the first year.

Not bad for a 75-minute meetup. Always a varied and interesting list of topics crop up. I find myself making notes on topics to research in more depth, things to consider in my own EOL planning, and figuring out how to spread the word more. Change requires so much communication, so we continue to talk about death, doing our part to remove the taboo, and enjoying living with a terminal diagnosis of mortality.   


Great discusion1

Enjoyed reading what the group spoke about. Really helpful prompts as I launch into my first hosting this week!
(South-East Brisbane, Australia)
Thanks :0)

Posted by Jacqui

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