Death Cafe aims to help people understand the end

New informal discussion group starts Wednesday, April 13 in Abbotsford

Death Cafe aims to help people understand the end

by Kier Junos, Contributor

When a person dies, they’ve moved on. But the people they leave behind need to learn how to live with loss.

Abbotsford resident Marie Bercier was on a co-op radio show with author and “death coach” Stephen Garrett, when a caller asked about Death Cafes, an informal forum to discuss and understand death.

After gauging people’s interest, Bercier, Garrett and others,  along with Valley hospices, are hosting Death Cafes in Abbotsford every six weeks.

The first one is on Wednesday, April 13 at 7 p.m. at Steamers Coffee House. The first death cafes in the Lower Mainland were organized in 2013. Participants ranged from the ages of 16 to 87.

It’s not supposed to be a grief support group, although grief may arise.

Bercier’s husband of 43 years died five years ago. When she came home from the co-op radio show, she realized she had never properly grieved.

“I can’t tell you how good it was to talk about it,” she said.

People should expect a safe space to discuss the topic without feeling pushed by some agenda. The cafes don’t aim to draw conclusions for people or to catalyze some sort of action.