March - Iowa Death Cafe

For our March Death Café, we met via Zoom and Jennifer Leatherby from the Iowa Death Collective facilitated. They were assisted in facilitation by Buffy Peters from the Bereavement Professionals Group. We had a group of five individuals. We had two individuals join us from out of state, one from the West coast and the East coast and the other individuals joined from Iowa.

We began our group by talking about the history of Death Café’s and how the discussions have changed over the years. As a group we reflected on the opportunities Covid-19 has brought to our Death Café. Our group has grown into a community that reaches so many states and even becomes international at times.

Stemming from our conversation about how discussions have changed, we talked about how we have this community of Death Café that creates a safe space to talk about death, but once we leave that space we’re faced with the discomfort of others when we talk about death.

Our conversation went on to talk about end of life rituals and ceremonies. We talked about the generational differences in end of life requests. We noted the popularity of younger generations to be creative with end of life rituals and ceremonies. There’s so much tradition in end of life rituals and ceremonies and it’s hard not to think that all end of life rituals need to follow tradition.

Coming from our discussion of end of life rituals came the important topic of preplanning. Our group has set goals to make preplans for ourselves. We talked about how much of a gift preplans can be for our loved ones. The idea that planning end of life rituals can be so difficult for your loved ones admits their grief. There’s also so much value in the gathering of loved ones to commemorate the life of someone who has died. Thinking about preplanning in this manner lit the fire in our group’s individuals. We wrestled with who to discuss and give our preplans to.

March’s Death Café touched on so many different topics, but as always, the discussion was cherished.

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