Lets Talk About Death – A Chat at a Death Café in Monmouth
In January 2020 we had the pleasure of joining Rebecca Lacey as she hosted a Death Café in Monmouth. It was refreshing to sit and discuss death in a welcoming environment. Somewhere people could ask questions that were important to them. We invited Becca to write a guest blog for us to tell us a bit more about this meeting and what a Death Café actually is.
Talking About Death is Part of Life
‘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.
Death Cafe in Monmouth
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 around 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:
- How to address ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ plans.
- How poorly informed families may be about what processes are available after a death
- The pros and cons of family members giving a eulogy.
- What it can feel like to be sitting by a dying relative.
- The wisdom of visiting near someone’s end.
What is a Death Cafe?
The Death Café movement has ease and openness at its heart. Its aim is ‘to increase awareness of death to make the most of our (finite) lives’. We have a conversation about death, or any subject related to it, with no agenda, no objectives, no structure. We chat, listen, sip tea and eat cake. It is simple and ordinary, and yet for me, it feels important, and at times, truly profound.
Find out more about Monmouth Death Cafe
You can learn more about Monmouth Death Café and meetings that are taking place on their Facebook page.
You can find your nearest Death Café at https://deathcafe.com/