CWDC online via Zoom - 10 May 2020
There were 15 of us on the Zoom call for our third virtual meeting of the Colliers Wood Death Café. We dialled in from across the globe, with participants both sides of the Atlantic and the Arabian Peninsula!
We were joined by two hosts of Death Café meetings which take place in Bristol and Bournemouth:
It was wonderful to welcome those attending their first ever Death Café and reconnect with several who have attended physical meetings of CWDC at Coffee in the Wood.
We began by acknowledging the extraordinary circumstances in which we came together, and took a moment to hold space for all those who have been bereaved as a consequence of the pandemic. We wondered how much more ‘traffic’ the deathcafe.com website has seen in recent times, and reflected on the interest our own meetings have attracted.
It is perhaps simpler, easier, or more convenient for some people to join an online meeting than walk through the door of a physical meeting, and I am thinking about the benefits of continuing to offer virtual meetings even when we are able to resume meeting in person. Please get in touch - I would love to hear your thoughts!
As we checked-in, we raised those themes we would most like to explore and then returned to these in our group discussion...
Themes to emerge from our conversation:
What happens to us after we die?
The role of religion and spirituality and what this offers those approaching the end of their lives. Holding beliefs vs. Direct experience
The pain some people have to navigate as they journey out of this life. Physical, emotional, spiritual
The work of letting go and release that seems to be a significant part of some people’s transition
Beholding death, turning towards it, stepping towards it, taking a ride of wonder!
Fear of death vs. Fear of letting go
How do we prepare to die? Who would we wish to say goodbye to?
How our intelligence as human beings is also the source of our pain. The anxiety and uncertainty we live alongside knowing that the only certainty in life is that we will die. The visceral pain learning of a terminal diagnosis can entail
What helps us to live fully with existential fear and dread?
Accepting and respecting the tentativeness of life. Living our ‘best’ life every day, taking life 24 hours at a time
Consciously choosing to feel, and to be present as part of our ‘aliveness’
Discovering and cultivating the ability to appreciate and value the ordinary and the beauty of the present moment
When should we spend our resources?
How coming to terms with mortality is often a motivation for entering (or returning to) therapy
Being revisited by lost loved ones in our dreams. The comfort that may be derived by thinking of our dead loved ones as being with their ancestors. The place of rituals to connect with lost family
Getting a sense of our own perspective - the ‘Pale Blue Dot’ we inhabit within the vast ‘Family Portrait’
Our experiences of death and the variety of responses to the losses we suffer - those we can anticipate and prepare for, and those that are sudden, unexpected, and/or traumatic. Personal stories of Covid-19
The heart breaking frustration of feeling unable to talk to an ageing or dying parent (or loved one) about their death – the cultural and societal barriers that mean we lack a language in which to converse about this, our most common human experience
The value of connection across time zones during these uncertain times made possible by technology. Cultivating presence and celebrating connection!
With many thanks to all who took part.
Our next meeting:
Will take place on Sunday 14th June, at 18:00 BST (GMT +1).
This will use the same Zoom link:
(Meeting ID: 894 3938 5538)
I have shared this on the deathcafe.com website, and Facebook page.
Please feel free to spread the word, and join our conversation!
To convert the time to your time zone: https://everytimezone.com/
Resources shared during our meeting:
Life After Life, by Raymond A. Moody
Dr. Moody’s website: https://lifeafterlife.com/
A Year to Live: How to live this year as if it were your last, by Stephen Levine
Website of Stephen and Ondrea Levine’s talks and writings:
Interview with Stephen Levine: https://www.personaltransformation.com/stephen_levine.html
2 of Stephen’s Podcasts - What is Pain? and The Stages of Dying:
Plato’s Apology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apology_(Plato)
Video of 10 Key Points: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehT60zSk8tg
Video of Dr. Gregory B. Sandler explaining why Socrates does not fear death: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRI2ZMhxovI
Full translation by Benjamin Jowett (for details see Socrates' Comments on his Sentence)
Carl Sagan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan
The Family Portrait:
The Pale Blue Dot:
The Global Population and latest data in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic: