Now, this idea may sound strange to some, but it made for a fascinating evening. As a taboo subject in our society, it was great to discuss death matters with others; topics covered included different ways of having a funeral service, such as in a community centre or football stadium, with a homemade or personalised coffin. I didn’t know other locations besides churches can be used for services, and not being religious in the least myself, this was good to find out. We also shared personal experiences such as the deaths of our own loved ones, what we think makes a good funeral, and then more medical matters like assisted dying and palliative care. Also we chatted about the Mexican festival Day of the Dead, or Dia de Los Muertos, where they celebrate the loved ones they’ve lost with decorations like sugar skulls.
There was a great mix of Sotonettes members and non, which made for a wide ranging discussion with lots of views raised. I felt there was a combination of serious and light hearted chat, with respect given to those who shared personal stories and also humour when it occurred.
Death Cafe is an international social franchise, run by a group of volunteers, where groups of people come together to discuss matters related to death in an informal way; it’s not a therapy session but can help people to discuss issues they may not otherwise feel able to, as it is a sensitive subject in our society. Death is a huge part of life but is often tricky to raise in everyday conversation, which is one of the aims of the cafe, to embrace it and make it more open to discussion. I definitely feel more able to chat about it without feeling uncomfortable, knowing there are like-minded people out there. Now, if only I could pick a song for my funeral!
For more info about Death Cafes, their website is: http://deathcafe.com/