Surrounded by strangers and talking about death

This is Death Café. Feeling invigorated, alive, renewed, peaceful, informed – actual words used by participants at the end of a morning “drinking tea, eating cake and talking about death.” It’s obvious; we are all going to die so why not get used to it? What holds you back?

Topics from last Saturday’s Death Café:

  • Putting people away at the end of life because we don’t want to deal with it
  • “Assisted death” or “aid in dying” rather than “assisted suicide”
  • Alternative burial and disposition methods: “promession” (freezing and vibrating to become powder that can be “planted;”, open-pyre cremation in the US (, the mushroom burial suit (, three-story core composting system ( and green burial (
  • German burial system: reusing the plot after 30 years (no embalming? biodegradable casket)
  • Preventing unnecessary or unwanted treatment at the end-of-life; being allowed to die “naturally,” DNR orders and how to obtain them
  • CPR – originally developed to be used on healthy people; when used on “dead” people in the hospital or care facility it has a low success rate, measured in percentage of people who will then be able to go home (after CPR rescue)
  • Know your rights!
  • Death over Dinner – a very structured program that is aiming to accomplish the same thing as Death Café: Let’s Talk about Death!

It was a wonderful mix of first-timers and repeat Death Café participants and we all had a good time. Tell that to your friends who think it’s morbid to talk about death!

*****Find a Death Café near you, or start a new one. For more info, visit or contact me. I’ll be presenting about Death Café at the annual Hospice and Palliative Care Association of Michigan conference on May 29 in Kalamazoo, MI.

I welcome your comments; please register and share your thoughts! If you have any trouble, let me know. 




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