Death cafes have become a global success since they were introduced to the UK in 2011. Part of their success is that they can be arranged by anyone with an interest in discussing issues related to death, in almost any location.
Sometimes those attending the event will be separated into smaller groups so that more intimate discussions can take place. On these occasions, death cafe menus can be used to keep conversation flowing and to introduce different topics. Here are some ideas for creating your own menu.
Like their name suggests, the topics listed here are conversation starters that encourage people to start talking. Some people may consider death as a taboo subject, making opening up to complete strangers a little awkward. Therefore, these questions are designed simply to get people chatting and feel more comfortable talking about death.
Some popular starters include:
- Cremation or burial?
- What is one thing you’d like to do before you die?
- Where would you like to be when you die?
This course serves up more serious topics for everyone to get their teeth into. The discussion subjects here tend to be open questions that encourage everyone to offer deeper insights into their beliefs. Some of these topics may be new to some people, so it is important for you to be on hand if some groups need clarification or help with the conversation.
Some potential main courses include:
- Is there such a thing as a good death?
- What do you think happens after we die?
- Why do we have funerals?
During serious discussions of topics such as this, people may express strong views and disagree with each other. Death cafes are meant to be open, friendly discussions, and everyone should participate respectfully and avoid criticising other people’s opinions. If you are hosting the cafe, be aware that there is a small chance that conversations may become heated. Be ready to step in and change the subject if this happens.
Tea and coffee
The final course is designed to provide some lighter topics once again that have a more positive tone. Some of the conversations from the previous course may have been quite intense. Ending with lighter topics can help the discussions wind down and allows everyone to leave on a more positive note.
Some potential tea and coffee courses include:
- What song would you like at your funeral?.
- How would you like to be remembered?
- How would you spend your last day on earth?
You may want to have two or three topics on in each course for everyone to discuss. The groups can choose to talk about one topic from each course, or they might cover every subject on the menu. Conversation may naturally move on to different topics, depending on everyone’s interests. Remember to keep conversations respectful and friendly.
If you want to host a death cafe, or visit one in your local area, go to DeathCafe.com for more information.