On Wednesday 15 May, we'll host our fourth annual Death Cafe to mark Dying Matters week, the national awareness campaign that aims to provoke conversation and action around issues relating to death, dying and bereavement.

We appreciate that the title of this event could be a little perplexing and perhaps even put you off wanting to find out more, so we spoke to Kate Wells, Social Worker at Trinity and host of our 2019 Death Café to find out what exactly a Death Café is.

So, what exactly is a Death Café?

At a Death Cafe people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death. The objective is to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their lives. Part of Trinity’s mission is to “improve communities’ relationship with death and dying, allowing people to live every moment” so the Death Café approach fits in well with one of the reasons we are here.

A Death Cafe is a group, directed discussion of death. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session. It’s not for everyone and isn’t the appropriate setting for people who, for any reason, are unable to talk about death and dying openly, with strangers.

According to the Death Café website, “Death Cafes have spread quickly across Europe, North America and Australasia.” The movement has to date offered 6073 Death Cafes in 56 countries.

What will happen when I come to the Death Café?

Trinity’s Death Café will be held in our Mulberry Place venue here at the hospice. It’s a light, open space surrounded by windows looking out onto our beautiful grounds. When you arrive, you’ll be invited to take a seat at one of the small café-style tables in the room and offered a free drink and a slice of cake or something equally delicious. Depending on how many people you attend with, it’s likely you’ll be sharing a table with people you haven’t met before.

We’ll begin with some ground rules, which we’ll ask everyone in the room to abide by during and after the Death Café. These will include things like being non-judgemental and respecting people’s confidentiality and opinions.

After that, we will begin to work our way through the Death Café “menu”. For example, last year our Death Café menu was film-themed. One item on our menu was:

“Mama always said dying was a part of life” (Forrest Gump)

Does acknowledging death will happen to us help us to ‘live more’?

At the Death Café there are no right or wrong answers. We are not there to come to any conclusion, promote a particular agenda, product or course of action. 

What might I get out of coming along?

We hope that by talking about death and dying, you will feel more comfortable to consider and discuss these issues outside of the Death Café. You may even pick up some ideas to help open the subject up to family and friends or to make sure you have a plan in place for your own death.

Do I need to be a patient or carer for someone who has been diagnosed with a life-limiting condition?

Not at all. Trinity’s Death Café is open to everyone in the community who is keen to come along and embrace the values and ground rules of the Death Café. We want to encourage the public at large to feel more empowered and equipped to talk about death, dying and bereavement.

Patients at Trinity or elsewhere, their families and friends are equally welcome.

How do I register?

Tickets for Trinity’s Death Café are free but limited, so booking is essential. 

Book your free tickets now