16th Café Hampstead write up, 6.Oct. 2014
This was our 16h Death Café Hampstead at Café Rouge in 18 months. (We started in April 2013.) Tonight as usual, we had a buzzing crowd. It was an exciting, moving and inspiring evening! Philomena, Corrigan, Bernie Folan and Caroline Dent helped facilitate individual tables.
As usual we split the evening into two halves: an intimate conversation around a small table for 1 ½ hours facilitated by a facilitator who also takes part in the conversation. We ask people to introduce themselves and say why they have come. This helps people to bring up the topics that interest them, tell personal stories, ideas, concerns and experiences. At 8pm we take a 20 minute break, followed by a 40 minute plenary. Ending with most people quietly filling in feedback sheets for 15 minutes. Afterwards people stayed on and chatted.
I think Café Rouge is a wonderful venue, the staff are very friendly and the manager Tugba is very supportive of what we are doing. We are given the beautiful upstairs room and our own waiter, which is a real pleasure. But there are drawbacks. The food and drink is pricey and for this reason and because the wealthy area it is in, it attracts mainly middle class, white people. I say mainly, not exclusively. The acoustics are not great, so anyone hard of hearing is struggling at times. It can get very noisy. A lot of the people are older, some elderly, so this is an issue. But having said that, I am not suggesting that we are giving up running Death Cafes here. I am just thinking that it would be a real pleasure to host some Death Cafes in a less privileged area. If anyone reading this feels inspired by the idea, do get in touch. I am happy to host a Death Café with you or for you. Josefine Speyer
28 booked to attend,
19 attended (including 4 facilitators)
19 feedback forms returned: 16 Women, 3 Men
Average age: 62
Overall, how would you rate this event? 9
(10 = excellent, 1 = poor)
Please describe your experience of this Death Café:
Every pleasant evening among lovely people. Ended with a great sense of gratitude for being able to discuss these topics in such wonderful and peaceful surroundings. Thank you for organising it. Can’t think of how it could be improved. I liked the informality and lack of structure. Psychotherapist, male, 60.
Very interesting discussion, helps me appreciate that my materialist outlook is very much in the minority. Computer programmer, male, 70.
Making me aware again how nothing can be taken for granted, to help me to be sleep walking less and to live in the present. GP, male, 67.
Calming and rewarding – the group was easy to be with and share. I feel as though I could return and develop my spiritual journey. Teacher, female, 65.
Very welcoming, open and warm environment. Thank you! Lecturer, female, 38.
This was the first Hampstead Death Café I have attended. I found it a little nerve wracking to open up but ponce I did, enjoyed the conversation. I enjoyed most of all meeting with others who are happy to talk about death as a natural part of life. Charity worker/ trainee counsellor, female, 36.
It was moving and intimate and stimulating and enjoyable. Teacher, female, 52.
Interesting, thought provoking, comforting, supportive, safe, humbling, inspiring, energising, relaxing. A privilege. Thank you! Family therapist, female, 80.
Enjoyed the interaction and listening to everyone’s views and concerns/interests concerning death. I was fascinated by the questions o=n the table which we did not get round to discussing. I would like to come again in order to discuss these. Maths education consultant, female, 69.
Very interesting. I like the organic nature of the conversation that developed both separately around the tables and at the end as a whole group. Colorectal nurse, female, 61.
Very supportive. Provides opportunity to hear and be heard. Alternative medical practitioner, female, 59.
I facilitated a table. Good experience. We all had and took the opportunity to talk. Shared various experiences from each of them. End-of-life Doula, female, 61.
I facilitated. I found it tricky to feel everyone got to explore what they wished for. One member talked a lot and I moved things along but they were slow and thoughtful and fining the balance to listen and move on is challenging. Also, I am aware the majority of the table have views in common about spiritual areas, so I wanted to allow these, but they are not mine. I learned a lot about facilitation and also about the wealth of experience and views. Market researcher, female, 43.
I like the format of speaking in small groups than the larger one. I think its great to make this Café and opportunity to talk about death available. I would have preferred some kind of question at the beginning, like what did you want to talk about or get from this evening. I felt some people became defensive about their beliefs, especially the possibility of life after death or not. Also some people spoke quite a long time! Psychotherapist/author/lecturer, female, 68.
Interesting people with a range of views/experiences/beliefs. We covered a lot of topics and aspects of death, although some times things were getting interesting in one direction and then we diverted down another, very different path.
I think for me a more focused discussion would have felt more easy to participate in. Alexander technique teacher, female, 56.
Fascinating - very inspiring – well facilitated. Some stories were amazing and so informative. Sometimes difficult to hear the conversation. Artist, female, 62.
One of the best Death Cafes I have attended so far. Very interesting group – discussing death within life, ie. Lack of humanity/prison system to the importance of grieving and rituals therein. Denial of the dying process – alienation. Very indepth conversation and deep sharing of personal experience. Designer/death doula, female, 56.
Always interesting and inspiring. I really enjoy meeting the other people and listing to their views, comments and stories. Accountant/songwriter, female, 54.
What motivated you to attend this evening?
I have a life-limiting illness
5 x I have been bereaved
9 x I want to prepare for my own death (and for parents death)
5 x I wish to learn about end of life issues
• Sounded interesting and unusual
• Plan the process
• Would like to improve my practice as trainer and counsellor working with others who have been bereaved
• Interested in working in end-of-life-care
• Generally interested in subject
• A friend recommended it
• To support others
• Hospice and Cruse volunteer
• Josefine gave talk at CwG about Death Cafe
• I am making a show about death
18 x White
Religious/spiritual orientation in childhood and now:
4 Raised Catholic, now not belonging to any faith group
1 Raised Catholic, now Conversations with God believer
1 was CoE, now spiritual
1 Non practicing Christian to spiritual practicing
1 Raised Methodist now no idea
1 Raised Christian, now no idea and comfortable with it
1 Not schooled
1 Raised CoE now attracted to Buddhism/Eastern philosophy
1 Christian/Pagan/Shamanic/Buddhist/mu own!
Where did you hear about this event?
4 x have come before and are on Josefine’s mailing list
6 x Friend
2 x Online search
4 x through Conversations with God talk by Josefine
2 x Death Café website
Have you attended a Death Café before? If so, how many?
11 came for the first time
3 came for the second time
1 came for the third time
4 Facilitators attended between 8 and over 20 Death Cafes
Do you, or are you planning to host a Death Café?
• I want to host a Death Café in South London
• I plan to host a Death Café in London N13
• I plan to host a Death Café