Why are Death Cafes so successful?
I attended my first Death Café meeting at the beginning of March 2013. Set out below is my perception prior to attending and will share my experience with you afterwards.
The Death Café concept struck me immediately for one simple reason. I predicted something similar in my novel The Trial of Poppy Moon. Were the circumstances the same? Not, but that could well change. Towards the end of my book, groups sprung up in response to proof of the afterlife. Society found itself having to come to terms with the greatest discovery ever made by the human race – life after death. I have been interested in Near Death Experience since university where I became friends with someone who'd had an NDE.
The Death Café organisation says that, “At Death Cafés, people come together in a relaxed and safe setting to discuss death, drink tea and eat wonderful cakes. The objective: To increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives."
What should I expect at a Death Café? Will there be discussion groups, if so who will lead them. Or will we sit around tables drinking tea and coffee, eating cakes and making conversation about the end of life.
Who should attend and why? Would the people who should attend be willing to go on their own? If the best part of my life is over and I know I’ve messed up, do I really need someone telling me. Or will they tell me it doesn’t matter, that life is a never-
Have I yet come into direct contact with death? Yes, I have. I lost a friend in a car accident when we were both in our late twenties. I was present at the moment of my father’s death and not so long ago we lost a grandson when he was just one month old.
Do I feel the need to talk about death? No, but I am more than willing to do so. After my first Death Café experience, I may well find that talking about it was far more beneficial than I expected. I’ll go with a completely open mind.
I’ve been quite lucky in life. I made some bad decisions early on, but I’m saying that years later and with 20:20 hindsight. The decisions seemed right at the time. Would I make the same decisions again, quite definitely I would not; I’ve learnt something, which I think is what life is all about. Isn’t it?
I will say one more thing about Death Cafes. They make sure that, as far as possible, no one dies alone. This, I think, is a truly wonderful objective.