Been to a Death Cafe yet? They’re happening all over the UK – indeed all over the world – in different shapes and forms. This week, Friend of Final Fling, Chris Dudzinska, shares how her death cafe type event in York went recently.
“A sunny day, with spring finally coming to life seemed a fitting time to meet for another of our Dead Good Cake ‘n Chat sessions.
“22 people arrived at Briar House in the middle of York to listen, learn and participate in / on the subject of death, dying, bereavement and all the associated choices, traumas and emotions associated with this difficult and yet mostly un-discussed topic which is common to us all.
“Immediate attention was given to the teas, coffee and cake, all of which came in a variety of well received flavours.
“The assembled and seated group quickly moved into discussions varying from “how many bodies can I bury in my garden?” to more pointed legal questions.
“The group questions were answered by all involved including two subject specialists namely: event organiser Chris Dudzinska who organises funerals with a focus on making them very personal but without the large expense that is often associated with some Funeral Directors. Also attending to help with legal questions was Rachel Roche who is a Solicitor specialising in the support of families to help straighten out the sometimes complex pathways of the legalities relating to wills and probate.
“Other specialists included Celebrants, Soul Midwives, Nurses experienced in end-of-life situations and of primary importance were those who had lost loved ones and just wanted to participate in any way they could.
“The flow of the conversation was natural and the calm dynamic of the group resulted in no one person or particular topic dominating the event. Topics covered included ‘what happens if I die alone?’, ‘I want the most environmentally friendly burial possible’, ‘What happens if I die in my non-native country?’ plus several other good ‘link’ discussions.
“Rachel Roche answered several specific questions relating to Wills and made the point that having a Will written is easy to do and can save so much time, anguish, heartaches and family arguments if done when people are alive and thinking clearly and freely.
“This point backed up the all too common event of someone dying and not really stating what they want for their funeral and sometimes their ‘estate’, resulting in family arguments and disagreements at a time when emotions are understandably heightened.
“Overall it was a really constructive group discussion with lots of positive feedback.
Chris’s next session is 15th May, 3.30 to 5pm, at Helmsley Arts Centre.
Find out more about the Death Cafe movement.