Write up for Death Cafe at Cafe Rouge in Hampstead, London on 20 January 2014
This month the attendance was even lower than last month. So we decided that instead of two small tables we would have one double table for everyone to sit around, three facilitators and six guests, to make it just one group from the start. That way everyone was sharing in one conversation. But for two new comers this proofed to be somewhat inhibiting. They would have preferred the intimacy of small tables first before coming together in one group. But not everyone had arrived when we had made this decision. For people who had come many times but never had shared a table, this was a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other more intimately.
The conversation ranged from After Death Contact Experiences after the husband died in a car accident to what it is like to live with being terminally ill with cancer. The value of open conversations about dying with the palliative care doctor. What a relief it is to have this level of trust and honesty with a doctor who is not afraid to say to his patient “Talk to me!”, This is a hospice doctor who takes his time for each patient. The honesty helps create a sense of security for this patient. But also how difficult it can be to talk about dying with some close friends and family. And one spoke about how helpful it had been to have a grandmother live to very grand old age. We also addressed more general, philosophical questions, but the personal predominated.
Overall, how would you rate this event? (10 = excellent, 1 =poor)
Total: 7.8 (Women: 8, Men: 7.5)
Have you attended a Death Café before? If so, how many?
Women: 2 came twice, 1 over four times, 2 six times, 1 came nine times.
Men: I came for the first time and one 4 times.
What motivated you to attend this evening? (Please circle all applicable)
1 x I have a life-limiting illness
2 x I have been bereaved
5x I want to prepare for my own death
4 x I wish to learn about end of life issues
3 x Other : Fascination of what it was/curiosity/accompanying a friend by talking and listening
What is, or was, your profession/occupation?
1 Teacher/Charity manager
1 Marie Curie helper/End-or-life-doula
1 Psychologist/Hospice Day Services Manager
Where did you hear about this event?
4 via Josefine’s mailing list, having been before
1 via friend
1 radio 4
2 x are planning to host a Death Café
Feedback describing the experience of this Death Café:
Interestingly different from the previous Death Café event I attended. I’ve found it very valuable to have this space – an intimate space with strangers – in which to think and feel about death and to listen to everyone else.Psychologist, Hospice Day Services Manager, female, 55.
Fascinating insight into a world of hospice/palliative care. A subject I am unfamiliar with. Manager, female.
One largish group containing several “old hands” and some relative new comers gave me some anxiety about whether the needs and interests of all were being met. But every time I enjoy hearing people and having the chance to speak. And learning and being surprised by other people’s thoughts and feelings on such an important but little discussed subject. Thanks again! Teacher, now a peace charity manager, male, 74.
The experience tonight was different as fewer people were present. I enjoyed the variety of the discussion. I am leaving with a full heart and an inspired mind. I enjoyed the silence – every time is different and every time is perfect. I feel gratitude !! I also feel a deep appreciation for sharing our humanness. Psychotherapist, female, 57.
The mood of this Death Café was quieter and more subdued than those I have attended before. It was a new experience to all be around one table. I thought it worked quite well. Marie Curie helper and End of Life Doula, female, 61.
Good to sit at one big table, good exchange of experiences and wide range of topics and views. Space to listen to each other and silence. Food delivered on time and efficient service as there were so few people – 6 participants, 3 facilitators! Academic, female, 42.
The Death Café always leaves me enlivened. We need to talk about the inevitable and to have a safe container in which to do this. Female cancer patient, 68.
An open, honest discussion about death. Fascinating and nicely relaxed. Business analyst, male, 42.