This will likely be the final Death Cafe/deathie update for the year. Can you believe it’s nearly 2014??!!!
1. December Death Cafe
Thanks to all who attended the December Death Cafe on 10th Dec. As planned we talked about “surviving celebrations when bereaved”, incorporating a little more ceremony and ritual, as has been requested on the evaluation sheets. FYI one of the people I listed on our dedication, offering guidance for his smooth transition to the Other Side died on Fri 13th Dec – 3 days after our gathering. The funeral is tomorrow. His family were blown away by our holding him in our thoughts at the Cafe. A special thanks to those who brought some new friends along – this is great to see.
2. January Death Cafe
Come along for the usual deathie conversations over scrummy homemade dinner and cakes. We’ll be showing the awesome film “My Life Without Me” so bring some tissues (I sobbed my way through it the first time I saw it!!!). The film will be followed by a discussion relating back to key elements/issues raised in the film.
Cost is $7 unwaged, $10 waged, which goes towards catering expenses, venue hire, publicity materials, printing, phonecalls etc.
The Circle of Life, 8 Henry Parry Drive East Gosford. Please enter via side exit to your right as you are facing the front door.
6pm for a 6.30pm sharp start…till 9.30pm.
RSVP if you can, but it’s also OK to show up on the night if you fancy it but haven’t RSVPd.
Please forward to friends and if you can, bring someone along who has not been before. Oh, and bring a cushion or fold-up chair if you can as comfy seating is limited.
3. The Festive Season
As some of you know, I am certainly not one of those who find the Festive Season all that “festive” due to deathing my mum from 24th Dec – 1st January in 2008 and literally living in Gosford Hospital for that whole time. I don’t have massive Christmas plans (because I now make space for honouring that journey with my Mum), so if anyone is struggling or just wants to hang out with others who get what a challenge Christmas can be, feel free to make contact. If I am able, I am happy to meet up for coffee, or a child-friendly hangout somewhere. Alternatively, please pick up the phone and reach out to an empathetic friend.
Whatever you do at this time of year, I hope it is full of love and happiness, as well as gentle reflections and acknowledgements of our Loved Ones passed. If you need an excuse for a drink on 1st Jan, feel free to join me and raise a glass of bubbles to my beautiful Mamma who passed at 9.05pm on 1st January 2008.
4. The future of Death Cafe Film Nights
I am yet to chat with Jon Underwood in the UK regarding the title of our film nights. Worse case scenario is that we can no longer call them “Death Cafe” or list them on the Death Cafe website. If this is the case, we’ll just find an alternative title, continue with local publicity, and keep running them as the feedback has clearly indicated that people are loving them!
5. The Groundswell Project
On Tuesday 17th, myself, Karen Adler (film night facilitator) and Megan Pascoe (future Wyong Shire Death Cafe facilitator) met with Kerrie Noonan from The Groundswell Project http://thegroundswellproject.com/ regarding partnerships and future work together. It looks VERY promising and we have agreed to “date for a year” and see what we can achieve! As soon as we have finalised the arrangement we’ll let you know the finer details.
6. ‘deathie’ tee shirts
If you are serious about contributing to social change around death and dying, you may consider donning one of the new ‘deathie’ t-shirts featured http://sacredhunger.com.au/281-2/ it’d be great to see some walking about town!!!! Custom made to order. You know where to find me for orders.
7. Death Cafe Feedback
As you know, we are constantly evaluating each Death Cafe and trying to take on board the feedback you offer. Thanks to all who complete the evaluation forms each month.
One of the on-going issues raised by a couple of people a couple of times is the desire to have more time to just talk about whatever it is they want to talk about, for however long they want to talk about it, in relation to death and dying. My challenge is striking a balance where people feel they get to talk, but that those listening remain engaged; supporting interesting and passionate conversations whilst not allowing the space to become a bereavement support group; and ensuring talk-time is shared evenly among group members.
Do people have any specific suggestions as to how we can create some space for a handful of people to “tell their stories” whilst keeping the rest of the group engaged? I was thinking of doing a session where we break off into pairs and one person talks whilst the other listens (for a set period of time) then we swap over. Thoughts? And alternative suggestions please!!
8. Day of the Dead 2014
It’s time to get a committed working party together for the 2014 Day of the Dead Community Picnic (November 2014). This will be an on-going working party that will help shape the next event, building on this years, whilst looking to the future evolution of the event. If you are interested, please get back to me by return email, including what skills/strengths you feel you will bring to the event, and why you want to get involved. I’ll then be in touch in the New Year. In the event that too many people put their hands up, I’ll have to select based on strengths as it’s important we form a working party encompassing all necessary skills to ensure a successful event again next year. Any overflow peeps may be able to help out with smaller projects relating to the event, overseen by the working party. If that makes sense!!
9. Dying to Know Day 8th August 2014
Similarly if you are keen to get on board with D2KD2014 please get in touch by return email. It’ll be upon us before we know it!
10. Motherless Daughters / Motherless Mothers monthly dinner
Prior to Death Cafe taking over my life (LOL) I used to convene a Motherless Daughters/Motherless Mothers dinner each month, where we got together at Sit O’Clock Thai restaurant in Woy Woy and hung out, often drank bubbles together, shared Mamma tales, often laughed and sometimes cried. I will be getting this up and running again in the New Year and it will become a regular feature on our deathie calendar. Attached is the old flyer. If you are interested in helping out with this (small tasks like emailing occasionally) or interested in attending, please let me know as I’ll start a separate data base for this.
Thank you all for your involvement in the End of Life / deathie movement here on the Central Coast. It’s been a MASSIVE year for me as I began the task of carving out a path for our local community to bond, grown, explore and expand in relation to death and dying. The first few events were a dipping in of the toe, so to speak, to see if you were all as ready as I was to drive social change around end of life. Clearly you are ready, and for that, please accept my deepest gratitude and appreciation!
One of my deathie goals is to put the Central Coast Community on the map as being a strong, connected, supportive and innovative group of amazing individuals who are prepared to look death in the face and champion social change and expansion of community consciousness around death and dying. So far you have made my job easy!
Bring on 2014 and our journeys together!