Death CafeIn Renfrew County
What is a Death Cafe?
I have been offering Death Cafes in Renfrew County since 2014. At a Death Cafe people drink tea/ coffee, eat cake/ muffins and discuss death. Our aim is to increase awareness of death to help people make the most of their (finite) lives. The Death Cafe model doesn’t include having specific topics, set questions and (in particular) guest speakers. The view is that, when it comes to death, people have enough to discuss already. Giving extra input or setting too much of an agenda risks being presumptuous, restrictive and/or disempowering. This is an organic, group- directed session offering participants time to reflect on and share what they think is important.
Death Cafes Are NOT
- A bereavement support or grief counselling setting.
- An opportunity to give people information about death and dying – regardless of how good or important it is. Rather we create time to discuss death without expectations. For this reason, having guest speakers and information materials available is actively discouraged
- A method of community engagement, research or consultation. It shouldn’t be used for these purposes.
These guidelines have been established to keep Death Cafe positive. This is also to prevent the use of this concept by those with an interest in leading people to conclusions, products or a specific course of action. For example, a funeral director can attend Death Cafe as a mortal but not promote their services or business.
Death Cafes Are Offered…
- On a not-for-profit basis
- In an accessible, respectful; and confidential space
- With no intention of leading people to any conclusion, product or course of action
- Alongside tea, coffee, CAKE or muffins (if it is a morning event)
Most of all, it is a warm and welcoming space and there are always gluten free options at the cafes I host. Bring a friend and experience something different and new! Death Cafes are offered several times per year in Renfrew County.
“The conversation flowed freely with the kind of discussion that occurs when people really listen to each other. Although it is a serious topic, we laughed and shared funny anecdotes and sober thoughts, knowing that the things we shared would stay within the group. The 2 ½ hours passed so quickly that we ended up chatting for another ½ hour. I highly recommend this opportunity to anyone who enjoys interesting conversation that is open and comfortable……often not the case when talking about death. Try it out~ you will be pleasantly surprised at what you might learn.”
~ Bonny Johnson, Death Cafe Attendee