What is a Death Cafe?

Sounds depressing, but it totally isn’t. We promise.
What is a Death Cafe?

Ahhh, death chat. It can feel awkward, uncomfortable and weird to engage in – especially if you find yourself talking about the topic with someone who feels a little uncomfy discussing their own (or their loved ones’) mortality.

Which is exactly where Death Cafes come in.

What is a Death Cafe?

Despite what its name might allude to, a Death Cafe is not a cafe you visit when you’re ready to die. That would be pretty weird, actually. For some reason, we don’t see ourselves craving a soy latte at our time of death.

Rather, a Death Cafe is a space where people drink coffee and tea, eat cake and sweet treats, and talk about death. There’s no weird agenda, no crazy rituals, just conversation. With roughly 15,000+ Death Cafes around the world (in 85 countries), the concept has proven super popular amongst those who want to grow more comfortable with the notion of death and their own mortality, those who are grieving loved ones, or those who simply want to chat to others about death when they feel they can’t have those conversations with their friends and family.

What are some benefits of attending a Death Cafe?

As is often the case with anything designed to help alleviate the pain that comes with grief and the death of a loved one, there are a range of amazing benefits you can experience when attending a death cafe.

  • Death Cafes offer connection, friendship and kinship. They’re a great way to connect to new people who understand exactly what you’re thinking, feeling and going through. Grief can feel lonely – death cafes help the period feel a little less so.
  • Connect with both younger and older generations, and learn from their experiences.
  • They allow you to validate your own experiences and remind you that you aren’t alone.
  • The space is typically free, confidential and safe. Nobody will tell you what to do, how to live your life, or how to move on from your grief. You can also come and go as you please, without fear of judgement. There are no strings attached.

How can I run a Death Cafe?

Death Cafes don’t have to be run in an actual cafe (even though the name might feel misleading, then). If you’re interested in hosting your own Death Cafe, here are a few ways to go about things:

  • Find a location that feels comfortable, safe and warm. This might be a local cafe near you, a town hall, a park or someone’s living room.
  • Provide cake, coffee and tea.
  • Create between 3-5 activities attendees can engage in in small groups. For example, write question prompt cards or ask attendees to write down their biggest fears in relation to death or the death of a loved one. The goal is to encourage everyone to talk openly and honestly about death in a comfortable environment, so any activity you can create that’ll help spark chatter is perfect (Google and ChatGPT are also pretty good when it comes to idea generation).

Wrap up

Death and grief can be daunting, especially if you feel you have nobody to talk to or grieve with. Death Cafes are a popular way to connect with others who are experiencing the same feelings you are, minus the judgement or strings.

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