Friday, August 21, 2015

Death Cafe

Ever heard of this? Where a group of strangers get together to talk about death? It's a taboo subject, that our society doesn't like to think about. Wednesday night, with a friend of mine, I went to one. When we went around the group saying our names and why we were there. When it got to me, I said, "My name is Jenn, and before loosing the most important man in my life last year, my only experience with loss had been a hampster when I was 10." The guy running it asked me his name. I cried and choked on it a bit. Gary. I didn't realize how long it had been since I said it out loud, I call him dad you see. It could have been months. 

I think about death pretty often these days. How I will die, and what kind of legacy I'll leave behind. I used to rarely think of death, and always thought it would be old age that gets me, but lately I don't feel that same garuntee. Maybe it's survivors guilt, but I just don't feel safe about how long we have on earth anymore. Going to the Death Cafe helped me realize I'm not alone in my morbid thoughts. 

I cried. I laughed. It challenged a few of my ideals around our justice system, life after death and planning for death. We talked about a good death versus a bad death. We heard from someone who had a near death experience. We talked about suicide. The ages ranged from seventy six, to sixteen. Without betraying the confidentiality of the other people there and their openness to share, I can tell you I felt a sense of closeness and acceptance. Peaceful acceptance if you will. 

I bought the guy's book, so call me a sucker if you want, but he wrote inside, "your gentle heart is such a gift". And if that's true, I believe it was a gift I inherited. 

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