What is a Death Cafe? And could we see one soon in Wicklow?

The name might suggest the morbid and macabre, but you’ll soon learn why Wicklow might benefit from having its own Death Cafe.

Described by Deathcafe.com as simply “an event where people drink tea, eat cake and discuss death”, you could be forgiven if you dectect a somewhat sardonic tone permeating the whole concept. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, really, and could even prove an essential tool for Wicklow people to express their uncertainties and live a more well-rounded life.

Death touches our lives in different ways, and many of us would rather not think about it, and this is exactly why the concept of a Death Cafe was formed. It allows us to tackle a very difficult subject in a friendly environment or “safe space”.

For Death Cafes are not necessarily a support group for people who have lost loved ones, they are there for you to discuss your own death, come to terms with the fragility of existence, and allow yourself to live a fuller life knowing that your time on earth is finite and so very precious.

DeathCafe.com say that their events are:

– 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 refreshing drinks and nourishing food – and cake!

They also provide a how-to guide on organising your very own death cafe.

The first ever death cafe was run by Jon Underwood in Hackney, East London, in 2010 until 2017 when Jon died suddenly in June of that year. Jon’s mother, Susan Barsky Reid, and his sister, Jools Barsky, now run the events in his place. And to hammer home the DIY aspect – the very first death cafe was run from Jon’s own home.

And now they encourage people all over the world to get involved and to establish death cafes of their own.

At first it might have sounded a bit quirky, but there is a movement growing, and it’s centred on building community around likeminded individuals who wish to discuss death in as comfy a manner as possible.

Part therapy, part social event, a death cafe can be anything to anyone, but what is for certain is that there is a growing demand for such events, even in Co. Wicklow (if the community groups are anything to go by), and that this is something we should invest some thoughtful conversation in. Because it’s a conversation worth having.

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