What on earth is a death café?
by Cheryl Cottrill, End of Life Doula, Huron Shores Hospice
Death. It has been part of our daily news for much of the past three years. And provided an opportunity to see how uncomfortable we are with the topic.
Huron Shores Hospice hopes to normalize this conversation through their hosted Death Cafes. Death Cafes provide a safe environment to gather, eat cake, drink tea or coffee. It provides an opportunity to enjoy open-minded conversation around dying and death. There is no agenda, no course of action or set conclusions and absolutely no judgement.
They allow us to share, explore and question our own perceptions of death. It's not a bereavement session - just an open conversation about a topic that we often find taboo. You are welcome to share as much or as little as you wish.
Why is it so important to find comfort with the conversation? The cold, hard truth is well everyone dies. We are born, we live and we die. We love to celebrate life’s milestones - births, birthdays, graduations and weddings. What we avoid is the discussion around our last act of living.
It feels uncomfortable and hurts to think about someone we love leaving this earth. So, we don't talk about it. What we do by not having these conversations is give up the control over our death to others. We burden our families with guessing what care we may want when we can no longer speak for ourselves. Loved ones will have to make decisions during a very emotional time. What happens if your children don’t all agree on a course of treatment? It can drive a wedge between them that may last their lifetime. Not the legacy most of us want to leave. Expressing your wishes now is the last gift you give your family.
The discussion at Death Café may help you to open up the conversation with your family and express your wishes. What better conversation starter than “I attended a Death Café the other day and I’d like to tell you about it.” The opening you need so no one will need to guess what your wishes are for end of life care.
Curious? The Death Cafe is free to everyone. Watch our event listings at www.huronshoreshospcie.ca for a Death Café in your community. We will be offering quarterly Death Cafes in each of Saugeen Shores, Kincardine and Huron-Kinloss. Please join us. We can pretty much guarantee an afternoon or evening of interesting and meaningful conversation!