Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Death Cafe Albuquerque with Gail Rubin

By Gail Rubin

Next Albuquerque Death Cafe:
Thursday May 23 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
The Center for Holistic Health
9412 Indian School Road NE (just east of Moon)

The Death Cafe is a free event where people come together in a relaxed confidential and safe setting to discuss mortality, drink tea (or your favorite beverage) and eat delicious cake or cookies. The objective of Death Cafe is “To increase awareness of death with a view toward helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.”

To participate in the next Albuquerque Death Cafe please email a note to Gail[at]AGoodGoodbye.com with your name, phone, city, state and how you heard about the event.

Albuquerque’s first Death Cafe was a big success!

At Albuquerque’s first Death Cafe event on September 30 2012 we had an interesting conversation – open and free-flowing with no agenda. Fifteen people came together to discuss mortality over tea and cookies.

“As The Doyenne of Death, I’m all about helping to start this conversation, and the Death Cafe is a wonderful way to take this topic out of the dark,” said Gail Rubin, coordinator of the event. “Death, if it’s discussed at all, is usually spoken about in furtive, low whispers. We’re all headed down this path eventually, let’s talk about our concerns, our hopes and fears.”

The first Death Cafe featured a wide ranging discussion of mortality issues such as living life to the fullest, bucket lists, aging in place and end-of-life decision-making. Questions pondered included “Would you want to die in your sleep?”“Does the idea of death make us want to live more fully?”and “Is it right for someone to dictate not having a funeral or memorial service?”

In the program evaluation forms,some of the terms used to describe the event were “thought-rovoking” “intriguing” “stimulating” “worthwhile” “comfortable” “informative” “practical” “interesting” “safe” “educational” and “fun.”

The Death Cafe concept started in England,where “stiff-upper-lip” Brits have an especially hard time talking about death. Founder Jon Underwood modeled it on the cafĂ© mortel created by Swiss sociologist Bernard Crettaz. Underwood held his first Death Cafe event September 2011 in London. Hospice volunteer and thanatologist Lizzy Miles coordinated the first U.S. Death Cafe held in Columbus,Ohio July 2012.

Here are some articles about the Death Cafe concept:

USA Today:‘Death cafes’normalize a difficult,not morbid,topic

The Independent (U.K. newspaper):The death cafe movement:Tea and mortality

The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus,Ohio):Facing death,over tea and cake

An opinion piece in The New York Times mentioned the Death Cafe concept. Read about it in Bess Lovejoy’s “The Dead Have Something to Tell You”.

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