Thursday, 13 June 2013

Russ Lemmon: 'Death Cafe' seems like a natural for Vero Beach

TCPalm - Printer-friendly story

By Russ Lemmon
Sunday, June 9, 2013

Published in TC Palm.

It’s been almost two months since I read a story in USA Today about so-called “death cafes.”

“Casual get-togethers to discuss the taboo topic are catching on,” the headline said.

Intrigued, I sent an email to Jon Underwood, founder of the Death Cafe concept, and asked if anyone from Indian River County had contacted him to start one here.

“Nope,” he said.

That surprised me.

I mean, given our demographics, a Death Cafe is a natural for these parts.

Underwood, who lives in London, said he received about 50 inquiries after the story ran in USA Today. Five were from people living in Florida.

These gatherings aren’t meant to be morbid or depressing.

They’re not for the recently bereaved or for the terminally ill.

“We’re a discussion group, not a support group,” he said.

Underwood says 115 death cafes have been held across the world, including 45 in the United States.

“I have been interested in death for over a decade,” he said via email. “(When I first became interested, I) read lots, volunteered in a hospice and trained in the spiritual case for the dying. I also worked to set up a service offering befriending for the terminally ill.”

Ready for this? Underwood is only 40 years old.

What does it entail to run a Death Cafe?
“We require people running Death Cafes to sign up to our principles,” he said.

Check out to see the principles.

The one I like best has to do with keeping the Death Cafe free of commercialization. No one there can be marketing a product, an assisted-living facility or anything else.
There’s just an honest and open discussion about death.

If someone is so inclined to start one here, let me know. I’d love to attend and listen to the conversation.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Say your piece.