I love travelling and writing, meeting people and experiencing foodie places.
Published March 10th 2016
Cake and conversation on death
When was the last time you shared a cuppa and cake with a relative or friend and discussed death? It can be a difficult topic for many people to talk openly about death, particularly in Western culture, where to acknowledge that a loved one has died means that it is final and we must continue to live without that person in our life. Often we use euphemisms to describe the death of a loved one – "lost", "passed away", "joined the choir invisible".
Death Cafe is not merely a place, it is an experience of heart-warming conversations where a group of people, often strangers, gather to discuss death and dying. Conversations flow freely and there are no agendas, just an open and non-judgemental atmosphere. This extraordinary cafe is not a bereavement support group nor is it for people who are grieving the recent death of a loved one. It is a group to share viewpoints in a respectful and open manner. There are poignant narratives and inspiring stories and uplifting accounts. Within this remarkable setting is also a place for humour.
At these meetings, it has often been acknowledged in the group that people need to have discussions about death before a terminal diagnosis is made or an accident occurs. Dr. Michele Knight who facilitates this unique cafe each month, posed some questions: "How does death teach us to live? How does death help us understand ourselves and our relationship to the ecological universe?" Deep questions with a variety of answers.
Michele has extensive experience in community advocacy and support; has worked in the areas of bereavement and grief; has been involved in hospital chaplaincy and pastoral care as well as academic lecturing; and has her own lived experience.