Talk About It Tuesday: Death Cafes

There are several resources available for people to talk to their loved ones about their end of life plans. I’ve shared Death Deck cards here before, and I will be sharing other resources in the future. But what if you or your loved ones have too many questions or fears surrounding death and dying to make your end of plans? Sometimes just speaking about those fears helps us gain control over them. Once we’re not afraid to acknowledge that we will die, we can take steps And make those plans that help us take control of our death and end of life and bring peace of mind to yourself and those you love.

One way to do that is attending a Death Cafe, which I’ll highlight in this week’s Talk About it Tuesday.

Death Cafes started a decade ago based on the concept of a Swiss sociologist and later refined by John Underwood in the UK. Underwood worked with his mother who was a psychologist to establish guidelines that would help people open up and share their thoughts and experiences about death and dying. Since Underwood’s first meeting in 2011, the concept has expanded to 66 countries.

The simple purpose of a Death Cafe is to bring around a dozen people together with cake or other sweets and beverages. A Death Cafe is not a singular physical location, but a gathering that can be held anywhere including people’s homes.

In this time of pandemic, those interested in reaching out to their communities to encourage conversations about death, dying and grief have moved to virtual platforms. Some have adapted and narrowed the concept to encourage specific groups such as physicians, women who are starting menopause, or BIPOC to attend.  Alternatively, because of these unprecedented times, some are hosting virtual life cafes, where participants share how they are coping and techniques they are using to holistically strengthen themselves to live a healthier life in a time when, often despite our best efforts, our minds, bodies and spirits are burdened with the depression, stress and grief of our new normal.

I will host another community Death Cafe-style virtual event that I call Talk About It Tuesday on Tuesday, September 15 at 7:00 EDT. It is free and open to anyone, and the conversations can be about anything that you feel you need to talk about. Holding these conversations by Zoom allows everyone to participate and gives us all a sense of togetherness, but if you’re not ready to share with strangers, I’m available for private chats as well. I’m hoping in October if the weather is nice to hold a live Death Cafe somewhere outside where we can meet in person, but distanced.

A few people have asked about Instagram or Facebook Live, but those venues don’t facilitate conversations between each other, which is the benefit and foundation of a Death Cafe. I can start a private group from my Facebook page if people would feel more comfortable carrying on discussions this way.

I’m here to help remove the stigma and taboos about death and dying. I got into this work, because I believe our lives are enriched and improved by bringing death, death care, grief and healing back to our communities. I want my community to tell me what it needs. So let me know what I can do and what kind of service you might be interested in. I value your feedback.

An example of a Death Cafe invite from Abundance NC.

Talk About It Tuesdays will provide a safe space to talk about matters related to death, dying, doulas, hospice, living well, holistic care or anything that pertains to death and dying and grief. While it has long been proven that planning and preparing for death leads to a more peaceful and “good” death, talking about death can also help us live a better life.

Join me and others to just talk about it on the third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Grab a cup of tea, coffee or cocktail and feel free to share your thoughts with no fear of judgement. All meetings will be held virtually on Zoom. Register to receive your meeting link.



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Talk About It Tuesday

Published by MKChurchman

Certified Care Consultant and End of Life Doula Specialist. I offer assistance with end of life planning, elder care, end of life and after death care through my practice Shoji Bridge Departure Doula. My passion is to bring death into the light and inspire my community to be more comfortable with and compassionate to people who are dying. My mission is to be a guide to help people pass through the final barrier on this plane of existence and move gently onto the path to the next.

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