Death Cafe Sonoma
Linda Siniard, SPHR
Linda will talk about how Death Cafes began, the principles, the guidelines, and how to start your own, followed by a question and answer period. If time permits, she will facilitate a miniature Death Cafe just for our meeting.
Cafe Mortels, as it was originally known, began in Paris in 2010, initiated by Swiss sociologist, Bernard Crettaz. Jon Underwood in the U.K. developed the first Death Cafes as they are currently known after reading about Crettaz in a newspaper article. The simple premise is that people, particularly those in Western cultures, consider the topic of death a taboo, and need a safe and nurturing place to talk about it, explore others’ views, and consider their own beliefs and fears. Death Cafes, in a very short time, have spread globally at a grass roots level, mostly through the Internet. The first U.S. Death Cafe was facilitated by Lizzy Miles in Ohio. Linda started the fourth U.S. Death Cafe in Sebastopol in December, 2012, claiming it as Death Cafe Sonoma, so as to define its location and the unique attendees, some of whom are frequent guests, some who visit one time out of curiosity. Four other Death Cafes have begun or are in the process of setting their first dates throughout the Bay Area. Each of these facilitators attended Death Cafe Sonoma sometime between December of last year and this past April. Death Cafes are part of an idea that carries the current wave towards “death-friendliness” and is becoming a larger, more normalized conversation about dying, death, and grief. The hope is that we can take the taboo qualities out of death and open the door to comfortable, casual conversations, all served up with tea and cake!
Linda is the facilitator of Death Café Sonoma, a voluntary organization whose objective is to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their lives. The parent organization is operated out of the U.K. and can be found at DeathCafe.com. The Sonoma County group can be found at DeathCafeSonoma
Video Recorded June 19, 2013