Death Cafe: Talking Tea and Mortality

Entering Death Valley

Entering Death Valley (Photo credit: Frank Kehren)

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The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.  – Mark Twain

‘Do you have a death wish?” is not a question normally bandied about in seriousness. But have you ever actually asked whether a parent, partner or friend has a wish, or wishes, concerning their death? Burial or cremation? Where would they like to die? It’s not easy to do.” For the past few years, “death cafes” have cropped up organically in Great Britain, providing a safe and open space for people to speak about a topic that is normally a cultural taboo. Hundreds of people, often strangers, have sat in makeshift circles in dozens of gatherings, where issues such as the preciousness of life, what makes a good death, and the privacy and dignity of the dying are comfortably discussed over tea (and even scones!). With the goal of the death cafe movement — to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives — spreading, this article describes its origins and the importance of death in how we conduct our lives. { read more }

 

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