‘Death cafes’ break taboo of talking about dying


UK – A series of “death cafes,” designed to break taboos and get people talking about dying, will be held at the University of Bradford next week. Sessions on how to plan your own funeral, cope with the death of a loved one and faith and death

 will be dealt with at the various sessions, as well as how to go about donating organs and tissue after death.

The event, open to all, has been organised by students and the University’s faculty of health, and will be held in the atrium of the Richmond Building between noon and 2pm.

The University has an ethical tissue bank, the only one of its type in the UK, which stores human tissue samples that are used for vital research and medical testing.

Organisers hope that the cafes will get more people thinking about how their bodies can be used to help others after they die, including becoming tissue donors.

Death Cafes are popular in America, and offer a relaxed setting where people can have conversations that many people either leave until the last minute or pass away without having.

Monday marks the start of Dying Awareness Week, and, over tea and cake, visitors to the cafes will be asked questions like what they would like their own tombstones to say, what they want to happen to their body after death and what song is played at their funeral.

Monday’s cafe will be attended by the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support Service, and issues being discussed also include death of a young person, suicide, miscarriage and abortion.

Tuesday’s focus will be on tissue and organ donation, and attended by the tissue bank staff, Thursday’s will be on death and spirituality and attended by hospital chaplains and Friday’s will be about the legal aspects of death and dying, such as wills and elder law.

Joanne Mullarkey, ethical tissue research nurse, said: “We’ll be asking what people want to happen at the end of their life. It is about giving people a free and open space to talk about about death and dying.

“Only one per cent of people can be organ donors when they die, but 99 per cent of people can be tissue donors. It could potentially help millions of people,” she said.


Curated from ‘Death cafes’ being held to help break taboo of talking about dying (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus), author Chris Young.