And a Kirkcaldy woman is doing her bit to help break down the barriers around the subject of death by starting up Fife’s first Death Cafe.
It will take place at the Kirkcaldy Galleries on Monday November 13 from 2-4pm, and everyone’s invited.
Whether you have recently experienced a bereavement and are keen to talk about the experience; if you have questions about what happens next; or are just curious about the subject and want to find out more, then getting together with others to chat about it could help.
Grace Beattie, the woman who is behind the plan to start up a Death Cafe, says that although people are getting better at discussing death, there is still a great deal of taboo behind the subject. “What I want to do is increase the awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their lives,” she explained.
“When people discuss their death and make plans for it it often lifts a great burden from their shoulders and they can get on with their life knowing that things have been talked over and taken care of.
“It is as much a part of life as birth, so it should not be hidden away and ignored.”
And Grace (57) knows what she is talking about, having worked in the funeral industry and also being a trained spiritual coach and holistic therapist as well as a funeral celebrant.
“I have always been interested in holistic treatment for the body, mind and soul and this includes death,” she said. “If we can help to remove the fear and taboo around talking about it then it can help people live more open lives and that can only be a good thing.”
And Grace is keen to stress that the Death Cafe will not be a bereavement counselling service, although talking about bereavement can be part of the discussion.
“I am just there to help facilitate what people want to talk about and to guide the discussion through questions that people can talk about,” she said.
The non profit Death Cafe which runs worldwide was started up by Englishman Jon Underwood in 2011, based on the Swiss Cafe Mortel movement. Death Cafes are run by volunteers who act as facilitators, and since 2011 there have been 1059 Death Cafes set up in the UK, with Scottish ones run in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth.
“People can just come along for a cuppa and a chat, or even just come along and listen in to see if it is of interest to them,” explained Grace, a bright pink clad, bubbly grandmother of six.
“I will play it by ear, but if there is an interest it could become a monthly event.”