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June 1, 2023

Let’s talk about death

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Talking about death, Craig Mathewson and Jennifer Henderson will be hosting a Death Cafe at the Brunswick Picture House Craig Mathewson and Jennifer Henderson will be hosting a Death Cafe at the Brunswick Picture House on November 8 from 10am. Photo Tree Faerie.

Eve Jeffery

Between pagan and christian days of observance – All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints Day, All Souls Day and the Day of the Dead – this week every year is traditionally a time to remember those who have flown away to the next place.

As western culture begins to understand the need to bring death out of the closet, talking about death and learning about the process and how we can embrace it rather than fear it, is becoming more common.

A local chapter of the international Death Cafe movement is planned this Sunday, November 8 from 10am to noon at the Brunswick Picture House.

To be hosted by Jennifer Henderson and Craig Mathewson, its goal is to educate and help others become more familiar with the end of life.

Idea of anthropologist Bernard Crettaz

The idea originates with the Swiss sociologist and anthropologist Bernard Crettaz, who organised the first cafe mortel in 2004.

Jon Underwood a UK web developer was inspired by Crettaz’s work and developed the Death Cafe model in 2011. He was instrumental in the spread of the idea.

They have since been held in 66 countries.

Ms Henderson decided to do a Death Cafe as she says she has experienced a lot of death this year, including facing her own mortality for the first time.

‘When it was in my face, despite having experienced a lot of sudden death, I realised I still had a lot of fear around it and I wanted to know death more intimately.

Jennifer said she met Craig who was very comfortable with death which was inspiring.

A sense of hope

‘It gave me a sense of hope and peace about death and the dying process. I have been learning that the more I embrace death, the more I embrace life.’

There is no structure of the Death Cafe and it is not a forum for counselling.

‘The goal is to provide a safe place, where people can share whatever they feel – or not. The discussion will have its own life, depending on where those present take it.

The Death Cafe is free to attend this Sunday. Numbers limited and bookings essential.

Please contact Jenny for more information: 0413 057 600 or [email protected]

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  1. I was always under the impression that Halloween was an autumn festival for the Northern Hemisphere. I’ve therefore never encouraged my children to participate because it doesn’t apply to Spring and the return of the light.


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