Write up for Online Death Cafe Liverpool (July 2020)
Online Death Cafe (July)
Evaluations: 3 submitted
Attendees: 1 facilitator, 10 attendees
Our July Death Cafe continued to be a global experience with some of our participants bringing experiences from around the world.
This was our seventh Death Cafe (our fourth time doing it online using Zoom) and signifies two years since our first one in Liverpool in July 2018. Similar numbers to June meant we split into two groups, and I spent some time in both groups. We kept the same format as previous groups, having a break part way through.
Thank you to those who fed back from this Death Cafe (full details below); I appreciate people taking the time to do this and always try to take on board people’s comments. And it’s lovely for me to hear people’s positive experiences especially when it is so clearly directed at me. There was a deeper sense of intimacy in this group and perhaps something about having them more regularly lent itself to this.
In relation to this and in response to the feedback about the regularity of our Death Cafes; I guess for me this can be quite time consuming in terms of the admin; organising it, responding to emails, writing it up afterwards, creating events on social media and marketing it. I was happy to increase the regularity while things have felt so difficult in relation to the pandemic and death being such a present part of our experience. I know that this continues to be our experience and I haven’t felt it is sustainable for me to maintain that level of regularity – much as I would love to. I’d be really happy to support others wanting to take on some of that work and I agree that with more regularity a greater sense of community and trust can lead to deeper discussions.
Perhaps also to speak to feedback about triggers, and I think we all have triggers and baggage (or at least I know I do) in relation to conversations about death – this feels part of what makes conversations about death so difficult at times, and whilst the purpose of the group is not bereavement or grief support, I would certainly welcome conversations about how we can support each other to look after ourselves as we tread this careful path together.
It was harder to draw themes from the most recent feedback other than to say I felt a sense of gratitude and appreciation and a hunger for more.
I really welcome further discussion on any or all of this, so if you have something you’d like to add or talk about, then please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
The full feedback from the evaluation forms is as follows:
1. Overall, how would you rate this event? 5 = excellent, 1 = poor:
· 3 rated it as 5
· It was my second time at Liverpool death cafe. It’s the best gift to myself.
· Punctual, well attended, timely email reminder on the day, kind hearted and experienced facilitator, great intellectual minds discussing death somehow without even thinking morbidly. Brilliant.
· People from quite varied backgrounds created an interesting first-hand session in terms of different attitudes to life and how they see their legacies.
2. Would you say that attending this event affected your feelings about death and / or life?
· 3 said yes
If Yes, please attempt to say how:
· It makes my life more grounded and precious. And makes death more acceptable as part of life.
· I reinforced the conclusions I had already come to, and heard some different perspectives. More of a reminder of past musings and an introduction to like minded people who care about the issues around death and I learnt that these philosophers of death as a mystery or a process can be some of the most gentle and considerate people one could meet.
· It mainly affected my feelings about life by demonstrating family and social cultures different to mine, and helping me to better understand.
3. How comfortable did you feel during the Death Cafe? 5 = very comfortable, 1 = very uncomfortable.
· 3 rated it as 5
Is there anything you can think of that would have made you feel more comfortable?
· Not really
· I loved the presence of the facilitator, it is a shame she was not present more in our group, her influence brought a sense of calm and orderliness onto the mind of the group.
· I felt very comfortable.
4. How well did the structure of the discussion at the Death Cafe work? 5 = very well 1 = not very well at all.
· 2 rated it as 5
· 1 rated it as 3
Suggestions for improvement:
· Zoom is great as long as I get an email link just before. It didn't seem to go on long enough, the first time I went seemed longer. There seemed so much more to talk about.
· It was very well run, particularly in the context of a multi-group Zoom meeting.
5. Overall, how would rate you the facilitation of the event? 5 = excellent, 1 = poor
· 2 rated it as 5
· 1 rated it as 4
Any suggestions for improvement:
· Jamie Fearn is an essential part of Liverpool death cafe success
· It's hard to give everybody a free voice and keep people on topic without offence and without being overbearing. Sometimes things are said that seem out of context to death cafe but if they were framed differently they would definitely fit the theme, so there is an opportunity for me to look at my own triggers and baggage.
I have taken the cake question out while this is online!
6. Please choose 3 words which best describe your experience of Death Cafe:
· 2 hours of quality time
· Intellectual, Considered, Contemplative
7. If someone told you they were thinking of attending a Death Cafe what would you say to them?
· Do this favor to yourself.
· Come to the Liverpool Online one!
· In my experience, Death Cafes bring together people from very diverse life views/philosophies. The sessions stimulate mutual understanding, and not unusually, brings people together, having realised they are not that different from each other. Much mutual trust can build up too, sometimes to the extent of strangers opening up about quite personal details of challenges in their lives.
8. Do you have any other comments or things you think we should hear?
· Thank you very much for organizing
· I think if the meetings were monthly there would be more opportunity for people to elaborate around the central issues that are salient in their mind and to cover deeper reflections than perhaps those thoughts that brought them to death café in the first place.
· Thank you Jamie!