The Thornton Heath’s Death Café is giving life to conversations that are normally considered taboo.
The gathering provides an opportunity for individuals of any background, religion, culture or belief to meet together in a non-judgemental environment to discuss death, dying and bereavement.
The Death Café is held on the third Wednesday of the month in Costa, writes Ian Marvin. To create an open and friendly environment, the gathering takes place after the café is closed to the public at 6pm. Free hot and cold drinks as well as cakes are provided.
Thornton Heath Death Cafe is part of a larger project called Creating Conversations in Croydon, a community collaborative project led by St Christopher’s.
The project has 40 specially trained volunteers who are committed to encouraging people to think, talk and plan for their end of life wishes.
I’ve now attended the event a couple of times, each time was different as people related their own experiences of death and their thoughts regarding their own eventual exit.
Conversations have ranged from profound reflections on euthanasia, differing cultural attitudes to burial, the loss of pets through to amusing anecdotes regarding family feuds at funerals and deceased relative’s ashes. In spite of the seriousness of the topic there are plenty of smiles and laughter.
Everyone was made to feel welcome and included, whether they wanted to speak themselves or just listen.
The next Thornton Heath Death Café will be at 6pm on May 16. In addition, May 14th-20th is National Dying Matters week, for events locally please visit St Christopher’s website: www.stchristophers.org.uk