Thursday, 28 February 2013

First Death Cafe in Hemel Hempstead with Catherina Petit-van Hoey

*** Death Cafe Hemel Hempstead is now fully booked ***

Death Café Facilitator 

I am Catherina Petit-van Hoey and I am a Friend of The Natural Death Centre Charity. I live in Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom, where I work as a freelance textile artist.

I was trained as a nurse in the 70's in The Netherlands, which included 'caring for the dying' and the 'preparation of the body' before funeral arrangements. I cared for my mother in the last weeks of her life together with my brother and sister and we actively organised the funerals of both my parents, but with the help of a professional undertaker.

Although I have a background as a nurse and carer my main experience comes from life and over 30 years of meditation practise, as well as teaching and guiding other people in this. For me, meditation is the constant practise of 'letting go', acceptance and 'living in the moment', all things which have been and still are of vital importance to me. Even more so since our youngest daughter suddenly died at the age of 22, after a short illness in May 2012.

In the preparation of our daughter's funeral we, as a family, were greatly inspired and encouraged by the Natural Death Centre Charity to organise every aspect of the funeral ourselves with the help of friends and family. This has been a major inspiration to the 200 people who attended our daughter's funeral and life celebration. More importantly it showed us that being actively involved in caring for the death of a loved one is a much overlooked but essential part of a healthy grieving process.

It is therefore, that I have become passionate with inspiring people to talk about life, death, funerals and living each moment to the full.

I really liked the relaxed, informal and respectful ethos of the Death Café - not forgetting the yummy cakes - when I visited a couple of Death Café's in London lately. So I decided to start doing some myself, the first one being in Hemel Hempstead on the 7th of April 2013.

See Catherina's blog entitled The Enlightenment of a Housewife.

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