Monday, 27 May 2013

Update on Death Cafe in Verona, Italy with Elisabetta Lucchi and Hilary Wilson

Death Café Verona, Italy 24/4/2013

The Cerchio della Luna bookshop very kindly hosted our third Death Café here in Verona. There were five participants and for the first time there were more men than women|

The atmosphere was serene and light-hearted and the meeting was, as for the previous two meetings, very intense and enriched by many different points of view.

The conversation this time mainly involved reflections on life after death and we heard about pre-death and spiritual experiences leading to sensations of calm and acceptance with regard to one’s own death. There was also talk of bereavement linked to people who are close to us, either in the family or at work and some participants expressed their own fears saying also how they enjoyed being able to share these thoughts and feelings without being judged.

The feedback was that this Death Café had provided a sense of freedom to express oneself in a calm atmosphere. Everyone appreciated the simplicity, involvement and sincerity of this meeting which gave people the chance to share and be understood. It was felt that many interesting points for reflection had come up and that these would help to foster greater acceptance of oneself and a more positive state of mind.

Death Café Verona 4/4/2013

Once again the Cerchio della Luna hosted our fourth Death Café and once again there were five participants. Our thanks to the bookshop for their kindness in letting us hold the meetings there.
The atmosphere was one of lightheartedness and fun. The conversation this time revolved around the theme of accompanying dying people in their last days and last moments. We talked about the difficulty of communication between relatives and the dying person and how important it is most of all to just listen which is the best thing to do when dealing with a family with a terminal patient.

Interestingly, we then moved on to the difficulty which we all have in asking for help. We realized that while we’re happy to offer help, it’s much harder to ask for it when we need it ourselves.

The feedback indicated that the atmosphere of this Death Café had been positive, safe, open and serene and had provided an original occasion for reflection, sharing, comparisons and an enrichment of knowledge.

Death Café Verona 11/5/2013 *** THE 100TH DEATH CAFE ***

Our fifth Death Café in Verona was held at the Casa di Ramia, an Intercultural Centre for women. And we also heard that this was the 100th Death Café in the world! Had we known we would have put candles on the cake (just joking).

There were eight participants and the meeting started in a very particular way with a beautiful and touching reading of a story written (and extremely well read out) by a mother who had wanted to express her feelings about the process she went through in a period of her life when she was faced with having to accept the possible death of her young daughter from a serious illness. It was a very emotional to listen to and it literally left us all speechless – in fact we realized that the only thing to do at that point was to attack the cheesecake! This helped us to gather our thoughts and the conversation then continued with us all expressing our thanks for the unexpected gift of this story.

In the second part of the meeting we shared thoughts, reflections and experiences related to the end of life. Of particular note was the idea of the loss of autonomy and dignity and the subsequent fear of not being able to make one’s own choices. We all felt that that it would be useful to speak more about this period of our lives, both in groups and on a social level in order to be able to die in a more humane way.

The words which came up in the feedback for this Death Café were: frankness, calm, respect, sharing, freedom, courage, acknowledgement, gift and tenderness.

Our thanks to everyone for participating and making all these meetings special!

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