Holding your own Death Cafe



We think that talking about death is a great way to spend some time. We're keen to support people to do it more.

One way to do this to to hold your own Death Cafe. So far around 25 people in 6 countries have offered their own Death Cafe. As you can see from the feedback on our blog they tend to be rather lovely events.

Holding your own Death Cafe is cheap, easy and fun. All you need is a facilitator/s, a space, some attendees and refreshments. Of course we encourage you to add your unique twist to make the event your own.

We have produced a free guide to holding your own Death Cafe, or conversation about death. You can download the initial version here

Death Cafe is a 'social franchise' and people working with us and using the Death Cafe name have signed up to our principles. These are that our conversations about death are offered 
  • On a not for profit basis, though to be sustainable we try to cover expenses through donations and fundraising
  • In an accessible, respectful and confidential space, free of discrimination, where people can express their views safely
  • With no intention of leading participants towards any particular conclusion, product or course of action
  • Alongside refreshing drinks and nourishing food – and cake!
If you want to offer a Death Cafe and are happy to work within this context then please get in touch with Jon Underwood: underwoodjon [at] gmail [dot] com

70 comments:

  1. Hi Jon and all,
    We're all set here in NYC for our first Death Cafe' on Wednesday, March 6th! I will be hosting the event with Laura Oliveras of Nothing Forgotten. We're both so thrilled to join in on this wonderful and needed resource.
    Be well,
    Audrey Pellicano R.N. Grief Recovery Specialist
    New York City

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    1. How did it go? We're thinking of doing one in Westchester County.
      Linda Solomon

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    2. linda, two of us, students in the CPE program at the NY Zen center for Contemplative Care are talking about a Cafe at the Peekskill Coffee House. where are you in westchester, and how far have you gotten with your planning? we're pretty psyched!!!

      susan thames

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    3. I am a CPE student as well (specializing in hospice) and I love this idea. I am starting my own Death Cafe in Lake Oswego, OR.

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    4. I am interested also. Please let us know when this is happening in Westchester, or again in NYC. Thanks!
      Frank

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    5. Hi Audrey and everyone else who has responded.
      We are planning the first Death Cafe in Phoenix, Arizona. Scheduled for June 1st. Can you share a little of your format, how you open, materials you use; any info that might contribute to a successful launchng of the 1st Death Cafe in Phoenix.
      I am a hospice Chaplain in the Phoenix area. Have attended several retreats and events at NYZCCC and will begin UPAYA Zen Center's Chaplaincy Program next March. Look forward to sharing ideas with like minded people.
      Best,
      jacqueline
      justtor@cox.net

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    6. I'm behind this 100%. In Vero Beach, Florida, I:'m sure we could get a good crowd and a pleased group. I went to one like this years ago in Ft. Lauderdale and walked out when I discovered the woman running it wanted to sell her book

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    7. Hey Westchester New York people. I would like to start a Death Cafe either in Rye or in Greenwich. has anyone gotten it started yet? A good time for me to start is September. There is a Le Pain Quotidien in both places. It could work out well.

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    8. HI, My name is Suzanne O'Brien and I am a Hospice Nurse and End of life advocate. I host the Death Cafe Millerton NY and am looking to assist others in starting additional cafes. I would love to talk to you or anyone else thinking of having one. Suzannebobrien@yahoo.com Thank you, Suzanne

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    9. Thanks for this update to find the 55+ Community in Massachusetts and make them in single organisation.

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  2. Hi,

    Well,as it happens and stuff always does, we've changed the date and now our first NYC Death Cafe' will be Wednesday, February 20th!

    Update your calendars!

    Best,
    Audrey and Laura
    audrey@wisewidow.com
    laurao
    nothingforgotteninc.com

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  3. Any Death Cafe's near Santa Rosa, CA, which is about 50 miles north of San Francisco? catsdontkiss at att dot net

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    1. When you find one let others in our area know. Maybe the Bohemian paper would be a good place to put the word out.

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    3. Hello catsdontkiss at att dot net.Have you found any death cafe's near Santa Rosa? I live in Petaluma, CA do you know where that is at? If you have found a group or need to get a group together can we talk? Please e-mail me at muggslarsen@gmail.com ASAP Thank you and God Bless

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    4. Check out Linda Siniard's website at deathcafesonoma.com
      I met her at the ADEC conference in April and am sure she would assist/support others in the area.

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    5. Hello Sonoma County folks! We are offering the first Death Cafe Petaluma on Tuesday, August 13. Email me at purplekbg at yahoo dot com if you are interested.

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  4. This has GOT to be the coolest idea i have ever stumbled upon!
    I DEFINITE intend to hold a Death Cafe in my hometown of Alvin, Tx.
    I find it ironic and fascinating that the living should should gather in the exploration of death. Death always seems to be a mysterious enemy. And it very well MAY be. But, how would we know is we do not explore it?

    Cthulhu@isp.com

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  5. @Cthulhu: I'm in Houston, just found this site and would love to collaborate with you on a death cafe here, maybe 1/2 way like Pearland? Since you left your address, I'll send you an email.

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    1. I'm in Houston Heights area and would love to be part of a Death Cafe in SE Texas. You can contact me at cburtonf@gmail.com.

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    2. Hi! I'm also in Houston and interested in starting a group (in central Houston). I just reached out to cburtonf. I would love to talk to you too Anonymous of March 10 comment. If you check this, please feel to e-mail me at cassie.manley@gmail.com.

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  6. On March 2 2013, we had a very successful 1st Death Cafe meeting here in Courtenay, central Vancouver Island off the west-coast of British Columbia, Canada. 13 people attended and we are all meeting again in April. Stay tuned: walterdriscoll@telus.net

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  7. Am excited to be planning a Death Cafe for Vancouver British Columbia in April. Will post something about it afterwards.
    agillespie1@shaw.ca

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  8. Jon, Just learned about the Death Cafe from my friends up in Sonoma, CA. I want to start one here in San Diego, CA. Will email you and see what next steps need to be. Very excited about the conversations that will take place...I can barely contain myself.
    Karen

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    1. Let me know if you do, because I'd be interested in attending.

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    2. Karen,
      I am in San Diego and would like to know if you have put together a Death Cafe here.. I would like to attend if you have or are planning one.. please contact me.
      thank you
      Marly Wexler marlywexler@cox.net

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  9. Just planning the first Death Cafe here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
    Very exciting, will keep you all posted.

    Rayne

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  10. I am attending my second mini Death Cafe and Art Salon here in Boulder County, Colorado. It is a traveling venue for anyone who is interested. Today, we are meeting April 4, 2013, at 10 a.m. at the Stone Cup in Lyons, Colorado. Our first Mini Death Cafe and Art Salon was held in Boulder, Colorado on March 28, 2013. We each brought something delicious to eat. Our hostess cooked grilled cheese on home made sour dough bread. We ate hybrid plums, drank herbal tea, ate poppy seed cake, and topped it off with chocolate mints. We each shared our latest art creations as we chatted about our experiences with life and death. Stories were shared and hugs were bestowed.

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  11. Hello Jon,
    Further Shore is set to offer our first Death Cafe in Flagstaff, Arizona on June 29, 2013 from 10 a.m. to noon at the local Federated Church. We are so excited to be a part of this universal sharing of thoughts about death. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We will be working on finding the perfect gluten free cake to serve alongside other cakes! Blessings Aleia

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  12. Rev Dr Barbara Simpson here, a Brit Living in NYC. Our 1st Death Cafe is on April 20th 4pm on the Upper Westside Manhattan (251 west 92nd street)

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    1. How did it go?
      Claire here, in Milwaukee. I'm a Life Celebrant at a local funeral home. This is my introduction to Death Cafes; I'm wondering about how it might be helpful in this area. Would appreciate feedback from anyone who has facilitated or attended.
      cbcruise92902@gmail.com

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  13. I just received, in the mail, a copy of the FCACO mailer from our friends in Columbus, Ohio and our introduction to a Death Cafe. It could not have come at a better time. Here is a subject that just about everyone has questions about and they would like to hear other opinions. We live in a 55+ community in Central Florida and plan to follow any direction we can find to have our first "Death Cafe"....................... R W Miller

    regwm777@gmail.com

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    1. Where in Central Florida are you located? I am working on a version of the Death Cafe but intend to encompass talking about aging, chronic disease, death and dying. I manage a Palliative Care program at a hospital on the Space Coast and the need for this conversation is tremendous!
      Terry
      tdonovan11@cfl.rr.com

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  14. Just learned of Death Cafe via a friend invited to the session taking place in Santa Barbara,CA on May 6th. Will come back here to post after the event. Good to see that open discussions about death and dying are becoming available. On the topic of dying awareness, a GREAT book to read is Final Gifts co-authored by Maggie Callanan.

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  15. Barbara Simpson Upper West side New York City

    We are about to have our third Death cafe here at my home. People bring with them a really good mood and an openness, probably because discussing aspects of this topic is a deep need.
    I am employed as a chaplain in Hospice. Bsmpson@gmail.com

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  16. Frank,

    NYC Death Cafe' are every third Wednesday of the month. Our next is June 19th. Here is the Meetup page where I update the meetings http://www.meetup.com/Death-Cafe-New-York-City/.

    Hope to see you there.
    Best
    Audrey Pellicano

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  17. Tomorrow is set for the third Death Cafe in Fremantle, Western Australia at Simple Nosh Cafe! It's looking like it'll be a great turnout! I'll post an article for it over the weekend.

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  18. Anyone further along than me (I'm at zero) in the Pioneer Valley, Western Mass? Want a side kick /or/ want to chip into me getting started in Amherst/Northampton? - -Chad chrlsful@aol.com

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  19. How do we find out whether there is a death cafe in our city? Do you have a searchable listing?

    Charlotte

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    1. I, too, am looking to see if there one near me in South Carolina. Any listing of upcoming Death Cafes would be very helpful.
      Jan'et

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  20. Just read about Death Cafes in the NY Times today, and think it's absolutely wonderful! Glad there are so many like-minded people out there. I'm in Westchester County NY - any more word on a Death Cafe at the Peekskill Coffeehouse? Would love to attend or help start one - would want to be part of a startup team, don't want to do this on my own.

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    1. I also just founf about the "Death Cafes". what a great and provocative idea! I am in Mystic, CT, anyone out there having the same urge to organize one on this end?

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    2. Hi, Chris. I just got the proposal off to the manager at the Peekskill Coffee HOuse. They're about to undergo a major renovation--they're annexing the storefront next to them, enlarging their space (YAY!!!), but I've asked for the afternoon of 7/20. I'll let you know if it's a go.

      Thanks so much for your interest.

      Susan Thames

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    3. Hi Susan - that's wonderful news about the possible Peekskill Coffee House meeting! Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help out.

      Hopefully I'll see you soon,
      Chris Moore

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  21. Anyone interested in starting up in Westside/Southside Richmond Virginia please email me at LandDcafe@mail.com. I'd love to start a discussion group devoted to normalizing and demystifying issues around life, death, living and dying.




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  22. Do any exist in Boston?

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    1. I am also looking for one in the Boston/Cambridge area. I am going to contact the Harvard Book Store and Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge to see if they might take it on. Both have discussion groups and speaker series. I think there would be a good response here.

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    2. I'm also interested in the Boston/Cambridge area. There's 2 of us who have commented so far, and I see a hospice volunteer from Massachusetts who commented, although I'm not sure about the city. I hope that the Harvard Book Store or Mt. Auburn Cemetery will take it on, but if not, perhaps we could start one using the guide they provide? What could be more fun than a Death Cafe? :) My email is laurelin (dot) deakins (at) gmail.

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  23. We will be holding our first Death Café here in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday evening June 26, 2013. The scheduling and housekeeping are being handled through a Meetup group but the event is not specific to Meetup.

    You can find us here: http://www.meetup.com/TaipeiExpats/events/125026642/ where we are "Death Cafe Taipei." You can reach me directly at: jim (at) deathcafe (dot) asia or through the Meetup group.

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  24. I am a volunteer coordinator for a hospice in Massachusetts. I'm intrigued by this idea and wonder if this might be a way to support the community and perhaps attract people who might volunteer. Has anyone had experience of this thus far? marjorie.rochon@kindred.com

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  25. I am a Home Funeral Guide in Shirley, MA. About an hour NW of Boston. Seriously considering hosting a Death Café. A local restaurant has already promised me a room, no charge. Anyone nearby to help?

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  26. UPPER WEST SIDE MANHATTAN NYC
    We have a DEATH CAFE AT ETHICAL CULTURE SOCIETY 2 West 64th street (off central park west)
    dates are 7/10 7/24 8/7 8/21 Eds 2-30 to 4-30
    Do come! its deep connecting with a kind community

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  27. PPER WEST SIDE MANHATTAN NYC
    We have a DEATH CAFE AT ETHICAL CULTURE SOCIETY 2 West 64th street (off central park west)
    dates are 7/10 7/24 8/7 8/21 WEDS 2-30 to 4-30
    Do come! its deep connecting with a kind community

    We also meet on Saturdays at 4pm teatime register email bsmpson@gmail.com

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  28. we are having two sessions on monday july 22, 2013. am at Paneras Bread in Vero Beach, Fl, evening at Inlet Wines in Sebastian,fl. all welcome! please`rsvp to
    rrifraf9@aol.com

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  29. i tried to write earlier but it was rejected for illegal characters Im trying again for luck

    howard snevel snev@att.net

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  30. Hello, I'm looking to hold a Death Café in the North East/Teesside area of the UK. Anyone interested please email me at; jonathonck@hotmail.com
    Thanks.

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  31. Hello Jon,

    I'm a former Hospice RN, counselor and minister. I just completed teaching, Near Death Experiences: What Happens when We Die, at Prescott AZ's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. I learned about Death Cafes a few months ago,and recently heard Jane Gignoux tell her experience. I am in the process of starting Prescott Death Cafe, beginning Sept., 2013.

    Blessings,
    Janice Jessup, DD,MA,RN

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  32. I feel strongly about information and love learning more on this. If possible, as you gain expertise,refurbished laptops It is extremely helpful for me. would you mind updating your blog with more information. Live Audio Streaming.

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  33. Death Café in Annapolis, MD, at UU Church, 333 Dubois Rd., Thurs. Aug. 22. May arrive at 7 PM for optional meditation on the Five Remembrances (of death, loss, and illness.) Requisite cake and beverages served at 7:30 for arrival of non-meditators. Free, although there will be a bowl out for donations to support the food. More Death Café events in Annapolis? Up to you. We have some great films! For info: email mpg@uuannapolis.org or call 410-268-9639.

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  34. G'day Jon,
    We are laying the foundations for a DC in Brisbane, Australia. Shall keep you posted re developments, planning on running our first around late October.

    Bruce
    bruce@brucewadd.com

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  35. Denver, Colorado's first Death Cafe will be on Sunday, Sept 8th at Wystone's Tea, 7323 W. Alaska Dr., Lakewood, CO 80226 from 3:00 - 4:30 pm. Register to attend via email DenverDeathCafe@gmail.com Like our page on FaceBook where you will find more details: www.facebook.com/denverdeathcafe

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  36. I'm in Ossining, NY...Westchester County.
    Did the Cafe start in Peekskill yet?

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  38. Sounds like a great idea. Any one one in the Ft. Lauderdale, FL area interested?

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  40. The time for this is absolutely ripe. As a nurse of 30 years, I am so struck by the lack of forethought people have regarding their death. It is time to have a plan: Where do I want to die? How do I want to die? We boomers will absolutely change the scenario from physician driven (as patients have no understanding, and families are unprepared) to truly patient centered end of life. Finishing my master's to be a nurse practitioner in acute care, in large part to start having this conversation in hospital, at least. (Though it really needs to start in primary care, and it looks like the PEOPLE will start it first!) Hooray! I look forward to watching this evolve, and possibly hosting one of my own. I've been toying with a "Crones" meeting, as well. It's time that being elderly was appreciated and savored, to the best of our ability!

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  41. Do your speakers volunteer to come to these sessions and can you charge a small fee to cover the costs of refreshments? Does it make sense to hold a Death Café at funeral home?

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  42. Hi everyone, I am looking to start a death cafe in Albany and Boston. Anyone interested in working with me on this please email me at suzannebobrien@yahoo.com. I have been working with End of Life care and Hospice for most of my nursing career and this is the greatest movement to happen in a long time!!!!! look forward to hearing from you, Suzanne

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    1. Hi Suzanne, are you ever around the Toronto area? If so, please let me know. I would like to attend one sessions to decide if this is something I would like to pursue (hosting the cafe part, of course, since death will come one day, whether I host the cafe or not). fcarrilloluna@gmail.com



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    2. I would be interested in attending a session too. I heard about Death Cafe few months ago and can't stop thinking abuot. Is anyone doing it around GTA?
      Maria

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