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My first Death Café

September 01 2019
Cheerful skeletons celebrating Mexico’s Day of the Dead. This year it is on 2 November. © the Pavement Cheerful skeletons celebrating Mexico’s Day of the Dead. This year it is on 2 November. © the Pavement

How will Jean Hindry, armed with just a cuppa and cake, cope talking about life’s biggest taboo?

The only certainty in life is that we are all going to die, so why are we frightened to talk about death and why is it such a taboo subject? With this in mind, full of fear and trepidation, I went to find out at a Death Café.

To my surprise the atmosphere was very relaxed and chilled: not what I imagined at all! Bizarre to think 18 of us were all going to talk in small groups for two hours about our concerns, our wishes, our expectations, what we wanted and what we didn’t want over some chocolate brownies.

Loads of issues were explored in such an informal way, we chatted about Wills, Powers of Attorney, funeral wishes, and if we wanted to be resuscitated, buried, cremated, thrown into the sea, a humanist funeral or left to rot in some woods. Interestingly leaving your body to medical science could cause a problem because there are certain criteria you have to meet.

After a while it became apparent that maybe I need to prepare for my dying days and talk to people close to me about what I wanted. Although some of the group said that speaking to some people close to you about the subject can be very awkward. But I will certainly think about having this chat, because it makes sense to tell people close to you where you put your Will or list of wishes and organising that everything is put into one place, instead of them rummaging about frantically.

I have to admit that I came away feeling alright about it and we had a right laugh, despite the subject.

  • Death Cafés are run by Gentle Dusk. From July 2019–Jan 2020 there will be several at Wellcome Collection on Euston Road. See to book a place

Chats and cake: this is what a Death Café looks like. © Gentle Dusk