In western cultures, we mainly think about death when it has affected our families or friends and then of course it is directly associated with pain, sorrow, sometimes with despair and often financial hardship. We also hear about death on news every night and I wonder if many of us would notice something strange about news if there were no deaths reported.

Many believe that it is all too late we come to think and talk about death. It is usually only when we know we will be affected by it in one way or the other. We now therefore associate this conversation with sadness, loss and often fear. Families often avoid subject of death because they don’t know how to talk about it. They fear upsetting their loved ones and some fear that there may be a link that talking about it, may make it happen sooner, which of course is not true.

Everyday we witness how hard it is for those left behind. Wanting to honor the wishes of their loved one, sometimes these are unknown, whilst dealing with the emotions of grief.So, what should one do to make sure ones wishes are respected – talk about it and write it down!

Part of the broad care provided at St.Kentigern hospice is focused on improving people’s resilience and to help people have a quality of life for as long as possible. Aside from the traditional clinical support offered We have developed services that aid and support the communities we serve to be better prepared and able to withstand in times of adversity. We are proud to have established an opportunity for people who are not affected by end of life care and decisions to come to a safe and welcoming, safe space here at the hospice to drink tea, eat cake and talk about the subject of ‘death’ in a small and friendly group.
We call it “Death Café”, which is simply a group led discussion in a friendly atmosphere. There is no agenda for the group discussion and no intention of leading people to come to some kind of conclusion, it is also not a fundraising event. We very much follow the “the Death café model which was developed by Jon Underwood and Sue Barsky Reid based on the ideas of Bernard Crettaz” (Source: http://deathcafe.com/what/).

So, if you are not affected by a recent bereavement, you may have been wondering about the subject yourself, but have not felt safe to express it to others around you, perhaps you are simply curious to find out what Death café looks and feels like, or perhaps you just want to put it to test if talking about death may increase your sense of happiness, why not come along to one of our monthly Death café meetings at St.Kentigern hospice. We meet every first Friday of the month at 2PM for 2 hours. Cakes and tea, and coffee is provided, but we would welcome a suggested donation of £2 to cover the cost of the refreshments. You don’t have to have any other association to the hospice, you are welcome just as you are!

If you are interested to find out more about the Death café’s, please contact our social worker Vita Zilite who is organising and facilitating the groups. If you are an organisation that would like to have a bespoke Death Café organised for your employees or members, we can facilitate that too. We’re looking forward to seeing you at our next Death Café on the 3rd of November at St. Kentigern Hospice at 2PM. Prior booking is welcome either via phone 01745 585221, e-mail vita.zilite@stkenitgernhospice.org.uk or through the following link