Virtual Death Cafe ~ by the bay

13 May 2021 - Small group of 5 interesting women spanning a variety of ages, backgrounds and life experiences. We shared our experiences about


  • that the experience of dying can be “a beautiful thing”; and the value of ‘holding space’; ‘being present’ and also sharing laughter along the way . All this as long as it is ‘legal, safe, sane and consensual)
  • a discussion around unexpected deaths – and a myriad of emotions attached with this ranging from quality of life – if we could choose to die suddenly then wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing? To the impact of unexpected deaths on the living – how we interpret sudden deaths (positive or less positive thoughts about this experience for the person who has died and for the living left behind)
  • The Long Goodbye (e.g. dementia is like experiencing two deaths when the individual is diagnosed and when their families start losing the essence of the person that they love; and then the physical death of that person); and how ‘confronting’ it can be to have to be a consumer trying to navigate the aged and health care industry to get services for a loved one
  • the importance of imparting information, improving death literacy, planning and having the ‘important conversations’ (not calling them ‘difficult conversations’)
  • the value of having the opportunity to say goodbye to someone you love; and the book “The Things You Would Have Said: The Chance to Say What You Always Wanted Them to Knowby Jackie Hooper.
  • Describing a peaceful death as ‘beautiful’ ‘respectful’ and offering ‘peace and dignity’
  • The concern that health professionals have limited exposure in their training to palliative care, end of life care and associated conversations and the importance of this changing; and some interesting discussions about what might be the root causes for this
  • about choices
  • how a number of us have had our first experience with death in our early teens and how many children are exposed to death of a loved one and many other losses, but that our society does not always openly include children in discussions; or know how to recognise or respond to their grief and loss
  • the quick deaths that happen in ICU (intensive care) and the importance of supporting people during this time
  • ‘Death is so much like birth, the labour in it’
  • How we grieve can sometimes surprise us – but grief is grief.. It is sad. It is raw
  • How social media can be a wonderful thing but also quite confronting when it constantly reminds us of the person who has died. And we need to give ourselves permission to turn it [social media] off (self-care). And reminders can be like scratching a sore – and the scab keeps on falling off
  • How technology is providing a medium for information and support – CareGiven app pilot (or was it CareGiver?)
  • How we tend to fast-pace funerals after a death and we need to educate people that it’s okay to take a breath and not hurry. Sweden funerals – are held 3 weeks after the death (cultural ritual)
  • We spoke of the importance of rituals and remembrance; and celebrations, writing letters (shared or not), jars, envelopes, homegrown flowers; candles; song; videos; getting together and Oodies
  • Living Wakes and Fabulous Going Away Parties are far more common when Dying with Dignity/ VAD is available

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