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Talking about death doesn't have to be morbid

There's already requests for another Death Cafe after the first one in Kelowna March 2.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
March 06, 2017 - 9:00 PM

KELOWNA - Three women in the Okanagan want to show that death doesn’t have to be a taboo topic.

Last week, the first Death Café was held in Kelowna — a global project in which people get together to talk about death and dying.

“Death is a part of life, it affects us all,” Sue Berlie, one of the event’s facilitators said. “The more we can talk about it, the more we can as a community, assist with grieving and help people coping with death.”

The social franchise is in over 44 countries, according to their website. March 2 was Kelowna’s first introduction to the Death Cafe at Bliss Bakery where 24 people attended.

During the two-hour period, attendees are broken up into smaller groups where they can discuss anything to do with death and dying.

According to Berlie, attendees ranged in age from twenty-somethings to seniors.

“It’s not a counseling session, it’s a conversation,” Berlie says.

Alongside Alison Moore and Ingrid Tourigny, Berlie has worked to set up a series of five Death Cafés in the Okanagan, Kelowna being the first.

Over the next month, the Death Café will visit West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland and Penticton. The meetings are held on Thursday afternoons. Attendees from the meeting have already requested another Death Café be held in Kelowna.

“We’re delighted that there’s interest in the community to come together and listen to other viewpoints about death and dying,” Berlie says. “It’s a great opportunity for exploration to be heard and to learn some new things.”

Attending a Death Café is free of charge.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Hickman or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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