Kalein Hospice Centre is bringing back its popular Death Cafe. Beginning this fall, a series of three cafes are scheduled for Sept. 23, Oct. 21, and Nov. 25. Everyone is welcome to attend one, two, or all three.
Death Café (deathcafe.com) is part of an international movement that was started in 2011.
There are now over 500 registered cafes in 31 countries. The movement is part of a growing openness and shifting attitudes to the end of life, reflected in the emergence of death doulas, funeral celebrants, alternatives to conventional ceremonies, online forums and debates about end-of-life care, etc.
As the founder saw it, “Western society has long outsourced discussions about death to doctors, nurses, priests and undertakers. The result is that we have lost control of one of the most significant events we ever have to face.”
Rosalyn Cormier, who co-facilitated the Death Cafes at Kalein last spring, will be returning for the fall series. She is a local counsellor and funeral celebrant who has been exploring multicultural approaches to being with death, grief and loss.
In describing her experiences, Cormier comments that “At every cafe I have learned something new, and my own perceptions of death and dying change and expand to embrace the views and experiences that others share. I really like that the cafes are attracting people of such diverse ages and life experience so we can learn so much from each other.”
Cormier is excited to welcome a second facilitator to the cafes this fall, Millie Cumming. She is a counsellor/art therapist with years of experience working in hospice care.
She is also a member of faculty at the Kutenai Art Therapy Institute.
“It’s a great pleasure for me to participate in this international movement that invites respectful dialogue and reflection on a topic that is not often encouraged or welcomed in our culture,” Cumming says.
“We knew there was a hunger in the community for the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation about death, but we were still amazed at how quickly the cafes filled up,” says Kim Bater, Kalein’s executive director. “We expect that the fall series will, likewise, fill quickly.”
In describing what participants can expect at the cafe, Cormier says “These cafes are a warm and respectful space, in which we can explore the many dimensions of what death is for each of us, around a cup of tea and cake.
“I have been deeply moved to see and hear what people have discovered, and by what they have given to each other, in this living conversation.
“By slowing down and inviting a deeper listening, we open ourselves to uncharted territory. In this space we can support one another to find the courage to stay present to the tenderness, heartbreak, deep love, fear and gratitude, which are all part of this mystery of life and death.”
The Death Cafes are limited to 35 participants and fill quickly. Participation is by donation, however, advance registration is required.
To register or receive more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-352-3331.