This meeting marked our first birthday or the anniversary of our opening the CWDC. 5 of us met, including 2 of us who had not attended before and we enjoyed a delicious Victoria sponge! Of the newcomers, one person was totally new to Death Cafe, and another was a researcher for whom it was her 8th time at a London Death Cafe.
Themes emerging from our discussion:
The importance of having spaces to reflect on our relationship with the one inevitability in life. The taboos around talking about death. People's difficulty / reluctance / refusal to approach the subject. People feeling very uncomfortable for the topic of conversation to arise. It feeling ominous and threatening.
How comfortable are we with the idea of our own mortality? What makes us scared of death / death phobic / existential anxiety? What makes this fear worse - and the role of busy-ness / avoidance / escapism.
How do we keep death at the forefront of our minds? What are the benefits of doing so / the risks of not doing so?
How to carry the 'Death Cafe message' - the perils of evangelising - attraction rather than promotion seeming to be the best approach.
When is the 'right' time to hold a funeral? - convenience vs. custom. What happens inbetween death and a funeral - in our own experience, how does grief work? The rush to bury - and who should be present.
Thinking about what we'd like, and what we absolutely would not. Making use of the anecdotal tidbits we glean from attending DC to further our own reflection.
What we can offer to the bereaved? Keeping it simple - offering fellowship, and food to those who are grieving in the aftermath of a loss.
What can we offer to those who are anticipating the death of a loved one? Offering to act as a buffer around communication for those who are supporting someone at the end of their life.
The timing of death, and the sense that sometimes people hold on - unfinished business - a parent waiting for their children to be ready to accept their death and their loss. How might we support our loved ones to die more peacefully, and with less pain and anguish?
The unknowns and inexplicables around death - the mystery that we can perhaps hold in greater space if we see to the business we can attend to.