We recently had the pleasure of joining Rebecca Lacey as she hosted the Death Cafe in Monmouth last month. It was refreshing to sit and discuss death openly in a welcoming environment, where people could ask the questions that were important to them. We invited Becca to write a guest blog for us telling us a bit more about this meeting and what a Death Cafe actually is ...
‘ How often am I aware that my life will end, that my loved ones will be lost, that this extraordinary life is finite? The answer to that question is ‘not often’. Why? Because like most of us, I become caught in the auto-pilot of today’s business, absorbed by what’s here, and taken up by what I expect will come next. So my death disappears as my reality – or even a possibility. It becomes a rumour, a remote whisper, something that will happen to someone else.
This was how I lived my life for my first 45 years or so, or until my parents died. Experiencing their death with all the accompanying pain and disbelief woke me up to death. My world was forever changed, and yet life went on. The death of my sister from cancer last year shook me once again, and now I am more awake than before, awake more often to the fact of my end, and surprisingly curious about it.
My curiosity led me to seek out and attend a number of Death Café events. These public events, where anyone can tip up and chat about Death, have an ease and a power to them. I noticed that whenever I went along and listened to others with their questions and experiences, I left feeling uplifted. It seems that for me the more I look at the reality of death, the more alive I feel. Yet this will not be true for everyone. We are individual, and will differ in our responses. It does seem, though, that as our awareness of death increases, fear and dread reduces, and we find new ways of approaching what can be painful conversations.
On January 23rd, I arranged and facilitated a Death Café in Monmouth. To do so felt risky as I wasn’t sure that anyone would want to come along. As it turned out, 11 of us sat round a table for 2 hours, sharing, listening, pondering on any aspect of Death that came up. We touched on a wide range of subjects, including:
The Death Café movement has ease and openness at its heart. It’s aim is ‘to increase awareness of death to make the most of our (finite) lives’ www.deathcafe. We have a conversation about death, or any subject related to it, with no agenda, no objectives, no structure. We chat, We listen. We sip tea and eat cake. It is simple and ordinary, and yet for me it feels important, and at times, truly profound.
So we aim to repeat the Monmouth Death Café monthly – more open chat, more cake, more moments. Feel free to join us in the Roberts Room, Bridges Centre, 2 Wonastow Road, Monmouth, NP25 5AH on February 20th between 5-7pm. Find us on Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/monmouthdeathcafe
Stories and thoughts from the Leedam camp.
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