Death Themed Gatherings

One of the most important aspects of end of life work is simply opening up the conversation about death. As doulas, we often find ourselves raising the topic and helping people around us have an easier time talking about death and dying, whether those people are our clients, our loved ones, or just someone at a party who asks us what we do for a living.

You are probably very used to being the leader of conversations about death, or at least making progress in that direction. But it is important to also join conversations where you don’t have to be the leader, or the expert on the topic. In other words, find ways to interact with other people who work with end of life patients, or are part of the death positive movement. Spend time talking to other people who already know about death, in an environment where you can connect and support each other as colleagues.

The first and easiest place to do this, of course, is on the internet. You can find plenty of doulas to chat with through IDLM’s online community, The Movement, or check out DeathCafe.com to find an online death café where you can talk face-to-face with all kinds of people from everywhere in the world about different aspects of the death and dying process.

If you live in or near a big city, there are probably live gatherings you can go to as well. You can find a live, in-person death café on the website (as opposed to one that happens over Zoom), or by checking websites like EventBrite and MeetUp you might find some fun variations—Death Over Dinner, Death Over Drafts, death-themed book clubs—it’s a long list. 

Some of these gatherings will be more social and some might be informative, with a guest speaker or a discussion topic for everyone to dig into. The thing they will all have in common is they will connect you with other people who are interested in death as a topic, whether they work in the death industry and come from a place of expertise or whether they are simply someone who is curious to learn more. 

Death is an infinitely large topic. None of us will ever know everything there is to know—it’s impossible. But the cool thing about that is that everyone knows something no one else does. The more we get together and share, the more it will increase everybody’s knowledge. Not to mention how nice it is just to get to know people who care about the same things you do, and want to talk about the same things you want to talk about. For fans of classic television, it’s a little bit like visiting Cheers—sometimes you wanna go where everybody wants to talk about death.

So check your local listings for a death-themed gathering near you! You might make some friends, you will definitely learn something new. And best of all, there’s usually cake.

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