End-of-life doula reveals surge in ‘death cafes’ across Australia

More people are choosing to discuss dying with a flurry of death cafes popping up across the world. Source: Getty

The idea of talking about death may seem daunting to some – especially when it’s with your loved ones – but according to one Aussie woman it is a topic that must be more widely acknowledged. And ‘death cafes’ could now give people the perfect platform for discussion.

It’s just like a normal outing with friends and family over a hot cup of coffee or tea, except the topic is targeted specifically on death, how to plan for it and how to make the most of life while you’re still able.

End-of-life doula Vickie Hingston-Jones has moved from helping mothers with the birth of their children to assisting people in preparing for death through cafes in Canberra.

“No one wants to die in a hospital full of tubes. It’s about knowing what your options are and allowing nature to work its course,” she explained to the news outlet.

“People don’t discuss death, they don’t face it, they don’t plan for it until it happens. It’s an area that needs more education.”

The end-of-life doula said she encourages all conversation about dying and believes everyone should discuss the topic, even children. She claimed just as sex-education is taught in schools, death education should be as well.

“Death isn’t owned by old folk,” she added. “Kids should be going to funerals and burying their dead budgies in the backyard and know what death is.”

Death cafes have been around for some time but have become increasingly popular of late following the creation of one in East London by Jon Underwood and Sue Barsky Reid.

A website has even been created to keep track of the over 8,600 official death cafes across the world as a platform for hosts and attendees to discuss their events.

“A Death Cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes,” the website states. “It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session.

“Our objective is ‘to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their lives’.”

“I say that death is like the dragon under the bed, and when you will pull it out and look it in the eye, [you] see it’s not really that scary,” she explained.

“Nobody gets out of here alive.”

What are your thoughts on death cafes? Have you ever been to one? Do you think it is a good idea to discuss death?

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