Death Cafe write-up
The first Death Café in Kingston was organised in support of the 5th annual Dying Matters Awareness Week and took place on Tuesday, 13th May at the Rose Theatre (sponsored by the Kingston University Alumni Opportunity Fund). Ten people joined the group discussion on matters of life and death prompted by a set of open-ended questions that were listed in the menu for the Café (e.g. how would you like to be remembered? what is your idea of a good funeral? how would you cope with a loved one’s death? etc.). Participants included a mix of males and females across the age spectrum who contributed to a thought-provoking, intimate and exhilarating discussion about (a) death and its meanings (what is death? how are we to understand it? in what ways does our sociocultural background and experiences shape our perception of death? ), (b) one’s own death (how best to prepare for it, how to let others know of our wishes, who the funeral is for, what we think about organ donation ) and last but not least © the death of a loved one (how to deal with bereavement and grief, how to continue our bonds with the dead, how to support others in grief).
At the end of the discussion, the Dying Matters ‘5 things to do before I die’ postcards were circulated prompting us to think about our life and legacy and allowing for some time of soul-searching.
In participants’ own words, the Death Café was informative, enlightening, reassuring, positive, mindful and thought-provoking with participants feeling that:
‘it helped me to feel less apprehensive of what lies beyond the grave!’
‘it is interesting and intimate to discuss with other people their experiences of, and concerns regarding death and dying. I do not think it has affected my own feelings but do think that other peoples’ experiences give me things to consider’.
‘It transformed my life. I wish my parents could attend one too’.
A second Death Café in Kingston is in the cards for certain: details to be confirmed soon.