Death on the Table: Creative Conversation about the “D” Word

Conversation can feed our souls and refresh our spirits. Words heard and expressed can be a balm on our hearts.  (Photo: courtesy of Scott Liddell-

Conversation can feed our souls and refresh our spirits. Words heard and expressed can be a balm on our hearts.
(Photo: courtesy of Scott Liddell-

I attended my first “Death Cafe” last week. These are conversational meetings which are growing in popularity internationally. The “Death Cafe” started in England in 2011 with the idea that by talking about death one can make better choices for living to a full potential. At the cafe I attended a group of about twenty people met at a local restaurant’s community space. There were four tables and each table had a card with an intriguing question such as: “What are your thoughts about the afterlife?”, “What are your ideas about how to live life more fully?” and “What fears and concerns do you have about your own death?”. In groups of four or five the conversations started and went on for about forty-five minutes then we would move on to another table and another topic. Though the meetings are not designed as grief support or therapy, it seemed to me that the process of facing the topic full on could have a healing effect. I found the conversations to be lively, respectful, humorous, sad, supportive, creative and especially thought provoking.

Another organization inviting people to join in the conversation is “Death Over Dinner”. Their site features interactive pages to help you organize a dinner in your home by providing text for the invitations, making related reading and film viewing suggestions and giving conversation prompts.

Although the word Death carries a morose weight to it I found my evening did not feel heavy. There was a lightness in the conversations even when some of the stories that people shared were sad. Talking about this mystery that we will all face brought a sense of camaraderie, understanding and compassion to the table. Death is the common experience we will all have as living creatures. No matter our differences, it is one thing that connects us all.

-Singing Luna 11/21/2013

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2 Responses to Death on the Table: Creative Conversation about the “D” Word

  1. Singing Luna says:

    Good questions! Use the Death Cafe link on my post to go to their main website. You can then type your city in the search box and they will provide a list of the closest events, location and times. California north bay has about three locations held monthly. I felt energized by the conversations, not bummed out. I think the motivations were wide ranging with some being curiosity and experiencing a recent loss.

  2. Hi Singing Luna! Wow, what a concept…we DO need to do better about talking about death and learning to face the inevitability of it. Where was this “death café” held locally? Is there a way to find out more about these gatherings and when one may happen again? Did you walk away feeling better…more connected, or bummed out? What was the motivation for most of the people who attended? CS5711

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