10 of us gathered in a sunlit room at L'Arche Toronto's Gathering Place. Our youngest participant was 11, and we went up from there to 65. We were a good mix of ages, ethnic and religious backgrounds, socio-economic realities, work experience, physical and mental wellness.
We talked about choices, losses, griefs, direct experience and/or accompaniment of/during the death of loved ones, our own fears and preparation and struggle as we face death ourselves.
We spoke about the role memory plays in both the lead-up to death and beyond.
We talked about suicidal ideation and suicidal tragedy, from grade school up through elder adults.
We respected each other, held each other's stories/reality, shared some tea and cookies (the cake was left uncut), and were collectively glad to have shared the time, space, talking and hearing together.
We'll do this again in September, welcoming family, friends, neighbours and strangers to join us as we talk together about what comes up when we talk about death.