December Death Cafe Iowa

For our December Death Café Iowa we met on Zoom. Buffy Peters and Becca Suvalsky from the Bereavement Professionals Group facilitated the group. In total there were 7 people in attendance, 2 men and 5 women, and participants ranged in ages and professions. We had individuals join from Iowa and California. Several interesting topics were brought forward for discussion.

A few topics included:

How talking about the end of life brings people together. Especially right now a lot of people seem to be realizing that they have a knowledge gap when it comes to death and dying. How we have seen death in our lives is how we perceive death. Personal experiences make death seem either approachable or scary. This is also connected to the words we use when talking about death and how comfortable we are with those words.

End of life: This topic seems to be something we talk about almost every death café. This month we talked a lot about the importance of where you die. Most of the group does not see death everyday which sometimes makes it hard to remember that even if we don’t see people dying they are still dying. This is even truer during a global pandemic.

Catherine Manning in the UK: One group member shared about how Catherine Manning is a pioneer for talking about death and dying. She believes in being fully present and having the important conversations. She believes when we can meet people where they are at in a non-threating and non-intimidating way we allow people to speak openly.

Final Exit Network: Another group member shared about an organization called Final Exit Network that helps to, “support the human right to a death with dignity”. This organization helps adult who are suffering from a terminal illness, chronic pain, or those suffering with rapidly declining dementia to end their life. This reminded one member of Jack Kevorkian who also worked to help adults who needed help to end their own lives. This was a very interesting and insightful conversation.

It was such an interesting and eye opening Death Café as we welcomed a few new and returning members. We look forward to more interesting and insightful conversations in our next Zoom meeting in January.

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