What is a Death Cafe?

“It’s a forum to bring interested people together over cake, cookies, and coffee or tea for discussions on death, end of life planning and the many options available that can serve as a gift to loved ones or yourself," said host Peter Lindquist in a news release.

The first Death Cafe in the Midcoast is planned for Wednesday, May 28, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Sweetland Center, located at 4 Church St., Hope, opposite Hope General Store.

Lindquist notes that a Death Cafe is not a bereavement or grief support resource.

“We look forward to meeting people in the community who would like to discuss the needs and desires of all of us who will reach this point sooner or later!”

Lindquist is a Camden resident and artist, active in the community and interested in supporting aging issues and open discussions in a “nonlecture,” open setting.

Death Cafes were developed in 2010 by Jon Underwood, a web programmer in England who was inspired by similar concepts in Switzerland and France. Nonprofit and nondenominational, they came to the United States in 2012. There have been 750 Death Cafes held in 17 countries, including more than 500 in the United States.

“Death has a lot of real estate in terms of cemeteries, hospitals, funerals, and hospices, but there’s really nowhere for people who are alive to get together to talk about what unites us all . . . so it’s become the province of professionals rather than something that’s held in a community,” said Underwood.

NPR recently broadcast a segment about La Crosse, Wis., “the town where everyone talks about death.”

Nearly 96 percent of people who have died there had advance directives for health care nationally, only 30 percent of people who die have advance directives.

“Our hope is that people will become more comfortable discussing death with neighbors and family members, and make appropriate plans, including wills, estate planning, and advance directives to guide loved ones in the coming days,” said Lindquist.

Suggested donation for food, beverage and space rental / $10 / No one will be turned away. No lectures, no “experts”, no sales presentations. For more information, email Lindquist at linklind25@gmail.com or call 446-1751.