Friday, 9 December 2011

December Death Cafes and the future

Its been a bit of a roller coaster since having our first Death Cafe at the end of September 2011. We've had interest from all over the world, had some lovely things said and written about us and featured twice in the London Evening Standard. Charles Cowling of the Good Funeral Guide even called Death Cafe 'the best social initiative of 2011 by far.'

Its clear that some people are intrigued by what we're doing and we are inspired to continue and develop this idea. Plans for 2012 are still being formed but they will no doubt include:
- Taking Death Cafe outside London,  possibly including Cardiff, Chester and Birmingham
- Producing a guide to running a Death Cafe 
- Finding another venue in London
- Developing our website and designing our logo
- Holding 2 Death Cafes at the Royal Festival Hall as part of the Southbank Centre's Death Festival.

We're excited about what the future holds for Death Cafe and would welcome your support, contributions and ideas. Please do get in contact if you want to work with us. In the meantime we wish you a pleasant festive season.

Sue Barsky-Reid who has facilitated all the Death Cafes to date.

As our 2011 swan-song we held 2 Death Cafes on the 4th December. One thing we did differently at these was invite people to bring along photos of people who had died that they were close to. We put these up amongst candles and flowers for the duration of the session. It was very beautiful.

Bernie Folan attended the first of these 2 cafes and writes about her experience below:

Why not talk about death on a Sunday morning in December in Hackney?

This morning I went to the Death Cafe, a pop-up cafe in a house in Hackney. You can learn about it here: And follow:!/DeathCafe.

I was nervous yet intrigued to see what this thing would be like. I was expecting a few strangers, some coffee and cake and to talk about death. And life. That's what happened.
I'd say I was the least "death-affected" of the small group yet I was the only one who cried. I heard interesting and moving stories, learned quite a lot and inched closer to being less fearful about the death of loved ones as well as my own end.

I feel different. I feel more able to Live. I want to be able to talk and think about death more readily. It is coming whether I do or not. I'm going to do some new things with the time I have. And I'm going back to another Death Cafe. Best conversation I've had in ages, lovely cake and maybe I've started blogging. Not bad at all.

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