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Death Cafe Meetings

Sandra Coyner, LPC, has been holding space for the topic of death since 2019 and wanted to provide you all with information as to what a Death Café is and what it is not, so here goes!

Death Cafes are informal gatherings where people come together to organically discuss death in a supportive, open environment. The concept was started by Jon Underwood in London in 2011, inspired by the work of Swiss sociologist Bernard Crettaz and now takes place in over 90 countries. Anyone can hold a Death Café meeting as long as they adhere to the following:

Key aspects of Death Cafe meetings include:

Purpose - To increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their finite lives.


Format - Can be held anywhere in-person or virtually. They are not grief support groups or counseling sessions.


Structure - Meetings are usually unstructured, allowing conversation to flow naturally among participants.


Accessibility - Open to anyone interested, regardless of background or beliefs.


Non-profit - Death Cafes are always offered on a not-for-profit basis.


Conversations can range from philosophical questions about the meaning of life and death to practical matters like funeral planning or end-of-life care. We have talked about cultural differences, ghosts, natural burials, weird/best traditions.  Sandra has had many nursing students come to her Death Café meetings as a class requirement and many seniors who want to talk about death, but feel it is a taboo topic in assisted living/nursing homes. Sandra has had terminally ill people come and those hoping they will find answers to their loved one’s passing. We have discussed assisted suicides for terminally ill; having said that, these meetings, again, are not therapy groups and suicide/grief are not the intention.

To sum it up in one sentence, I would say that Death Cafes are for everyone and anyone to come and have an organic conversation about death to help make a seemingly taboo topic as natural as it should be.

For any questions prior to the series, please feel free to reach out to

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