Beth StraubhaarIn 2010 a man by the name of Jon Underwood decided to start a series of projects about death. He had read about the work of Bernard Crettaz and was inspired to start a discussion group with death as its subject, and so the Death Café was born. The first Death Café was held in Jon’s living room in Hackney, East London in September 2011. Lizzy Miles from Columbus Ohio was the first person to hold a Death Café outside of the UK. Since then there have been over 6914 Death Cafes held in 58 countries.

AlderferDeath Cafes are a group directed discussion about death with no agendas, themes, or objectives. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session. They are held in an accessible, respectful, confidential space with no intention of leading people to any conclusion, product or course of action. The goal of a Death Café is to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.

Attending a Death Café is a great way to explore ideas about death and dying and to share our thoughts about our own mortality. Because there is no agenda, each session is new and different. The discussion is group directed and free flowing with several topics usually being discussed in each session. Topics discussed in past sessions have included:

• Burial Practices around the World
• Advanced Directives
• Home Funerals
• Hospice and Palliative Care
• US medicine and end – of – life care
• Social media and what happens to it when we die
• Green Burials
• The Funeral Industry

So come have a cup of tea, a piece of cake and discuss all things death at the next Death Café.
(Great Conjunction Spiritual Center holds Death Cafes on a quarterly basis. See our schedule for the next Death Café) 

Beth Straubhaar
End – of – Life Care Consultant, Doula
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