Monday, 19 August 2013

Report on the Death Cafe meeting in Petaluma California by Sandy

Report on the Death Cafe meeting in Petaluma California hosted by Karen Garber. Initial meeting at 6:30 PM on August 13, 2013

Venue: The Aqus Cafe, 189 H St.

Perhaps 45 people were there for the DC event about 15 of which, like myself and my sister-in-law driver, did not RSVP and were a surprise to the hostess. The cafe had another 20-30 folk in the other end of the same room who were just random patrons.

Having said all that it was a lively group with many earnest but localized discussions going on. I watched the tables occasionally and noted postures that indicated to me that the folk involved seemed to be enjoying themselves. I heard no unusually raised voices or arguing at all.

Karen opened the meeting with a short statement about DC and a little bit about herself. She is an experienced Hospice nurse and RN who came to the field as a calling after a couple of older and close relatives died. She wants the dying experience as comfortable as possible for the individual in the many facets of the word comfort. She has generally good people skills and will make, I am sure, a good leader of the monthly DC gatherings. I felt that the unexpected big response she got, due to stray people showing up, threw her off her stride. She was clearly aware of the issue though.

The attendees were a mixture of ages and sexes with a bit of a bias on the mature female side. Our table had 4 women and two men, averaging perhaps late 60s or so.

I believe the DC concept will be well received in this community and, with a better venue, or a more controlled one, a very satisfying way to break folk into having freer discussions of "the topic that is not talked about."

Well done, Jon, you have started something which, hopefully, will over time, change societies for the better. Wow, what an awesome thing to do!

Best wishes,


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