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Death Cafes Create a New Kind of Space to Talk about Death and Dying

Posted on 02/27/2013

Seven Ponds: Sometimes you just need to talk about death.You don’t need a therapist. You don’t need a self-help book. You don’t need a support group. You just need to say the word death and talk about what it means to you and in your life.

Jon and Sue Barsky Reid are spreading this idea around the world as they produce “Death Cafes”, inspired by the ideas of Swiss sociologist Bernard Crettaz and the original death cafe in Paris. Death Cafes work from the idea that a cafe is a comfortable place to come together, “drink tea, eat cake”, and talk with friends. That talk, in this case, just happens to be about mortality.

An interesting point to note about Death Cafes is that they are targeted to participants who are “not thinking that much about death”. They aren’t limited to those who are dying or facing the loss of a loved one, but rather for anyone, as they say, “on this side of the curtain”. As we try to stress at SevenPonds, the conversation about death, dying, loss, and grief shouldn’t be left to the dying or the grieving. Death is a natural part of our lives, and the more we can discuss it honestly and the comfort of the everyday, like Death Cafes offer, the more we can begin to accept it as such.

Find more ways to talk about death through The Conversation Project and the Go Wish card game.

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