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  • Vic Park Community Centre

Vic Park Life & Death Cafe

In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, we ran our first Death Cafe. It’s an unusual event: people get together to talk about what matters most at the end of life.

When the virus situation escalated back in March and face-to-face events had to be cancelled, we thought Death Cafe would be just one more of those — we had planned to run it at the beautiful First Avenue Cafe in Kensington, a place full of life.

As things developed, however, we realised we could still run the conversation online, and that it would actually be an insightful thing to do now -- the end of the world as we know it.

Mostly, we don’t feel fine.

But reflecting on what we value most about life feels more needed than ever -- not only in Vic Park but around the globe.

In conversation with Vicki Barry, facilitator of Perth Death Cafe and our partner in kicking off Vic Park Death Cafe, we decided to rebrand the event to be a Life & Death Cafe — to reinforce that we cannot talk about death without considering life.

Suddenly, with so many deaths exposed in all parts of the world, there is nothing more important than uniting to protect human lives.

With the rebrand and a Zoom meeting set up, we ran the inaugural Vic Park Life & Death Cafe on April 4, with 13 people in attendance. A few were still a bit confused about what the event was about: it’s not a space for bereavement support or grief counselling, it’s not a space to promote an agenda, product or viewpoint in regards to life or death, it’s not a place for experts to tell others how to experience death. So, what it is, exactly?

Well, it’s nothing more than a conversation.

In our inaugural Life & Death Cafe, we talked about how death has affected each of us, the reasons we felt attracted to attend a Life and Death Cafe, how other cultures deal with dying and mourning, why it’s become taboo to talk about death, the different ways in which death makes itself known to us through life. But mostly we talked about how the certainty of our mortality makes us want to live our best life.

There were pros and cons of being online instead of in a beautiful welcoming cafe space, but mostly the group agreed it was a conversation worth having. It makes us feel fine.

We are looking at running Life & Death Cafes regularly, so if you think you would like to try something a bit different that will probably change how you feel about death — and life — join us!

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