Why we need to talk about death over a cuppa
Many of us remember the moment we realize, usually as young kids, that we will at some point die. And around the same time, we learn that this is not something we talk about. We spent most of our lives avoiding or trying to escape this reality, although it is true for all of us. Perhaps for this reason we have many fears surrounding our own and our loved ones' death.
Could we lighten the burden of these fears simple by talking more about them and sharing them with others? And help each other embrace the fact that we, in reality, could die at any minute? How would this change the way we perceive of current lives?
Death Cafe is an initiative that urges us to get together and start talking about death and dying - over a cuppa and a piece of cake.
The objective is 'to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives'. A Death Cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes - a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session.
It started in the UK back in 2011 and is now a global movement with pop-up Death Cafes in 52 countries. There are Death Cafes happening all over the UK every week. Stay up to date here. Should you be interested in becoming a Death Cafe host, here's how it works.
The founder of the initiative, Jon Underwood, passed away earlier this year. Underwood believed engaging with the topic not only has benefits for the individual and the Death Cafe community but also has potential to inform every aspect of society, from how we make laws to how harshly or favourably we judge others to how we protect the environment.
In a VICE interview from November 2015 he said:
"I believe that bringing death into consciousness, evolving our relationship with death, is one way of getting under the skin of the way we live."
Here's a video of him telling a bit more about the intention behind the movement. May he Rest in Peace.