Friday, 12 April 2013

First Death Cafe in Santa Barbara Write-Up

(host) Martha in her beautiful silk scarf
By Lynn Holzman

We hosted our first Death Cafe in Santa Barbara on Monday night, April 8th from 6-8PM. It was held at a local restaurant in a private room. We received 20 RSVPs and 20 came! People found out about it primarily by word-of-mouth.

We started the evening by having people put on name tags and order food if they wanted to eat dinner. We proceeded to introductions. I (Lynn) started out by briefly explaining the concept and origin of Death Cafe and how I got interested. My co-host, Martha, introduced herself next. Introductions continued around the tables. We had a number of people from the “Shared Crossing Project”. Several good friends of ours came simply to support me and Martha!

Martha then suggested a conversation prompt to the group. The question was, “What are 2 ways you relate to death?”

This opened the conversation to many topics. People spoke about suffering, near death experience, suicide, aging parents, advance directives, medical heroics, allowing natural death, fear of death, relief by dying, fear of aging, death denial, anger, after-life, reincarnation, etc.

At 7:30 we decided to stop the conversation and turn to the cakes! For the last half hour we ate cake and had small, informal group discussion. We had told people that the end of the gathering would include something life-affirming which we decided was the cake!

The cake!
I forgot to hand out the evaluation forms. As people left, several expressed an interest in “doing this again”. Both Martha and I have received feedback from our friends such as:
“Your event last night was very engaging.”

“Thanks again for organizing it.”

“I would like to talk with you more about what motivated you to bring the Death Cafe to SB.”

“At least one of the other attendees said they liked it a lot and would come again”

“Welcoming and friendly”

“Both cakes were delicious”

“Thank you so much for inviting me to your event last night. it was enjoyable and interesting”

We are currently planning for another Death Cafe gathering in May.

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