Group of people toasting and looking happy at a restaurant

Our First Death Dinner

by Catherine Braxton As we staggered the tissue boxes across the long dining table, one of the wait staff approached, “We have a running bet as to what is going on here, can you tell us so we can determine the winner? Some of us think it is going to be a sad book club, the others, a funeral…” Mischievously I replied “Actually, it is a mixture of the two. It is our first death dinner.” The waitress did not look disheartened that she had lost the bet, but rather intrigued, “Now you’ve got my attention” she replied. It was a gathering...

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February 1st, 2018

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Death over coffee and cake

I am studying Counselling and Psychotherapy in Ireland. In Ireland, the ritual of the death, removal and burial is very much part of life yet the subject is still avoided as much as possible. I took your concept and adapted it for a experiential presentation on Loss and Death. I wanted to create a scene of normality whilst talking about a subject that we all avoid. So I had a tea party. I invited my fellow students and lecturer to tea to talk about death and loss. I designed invitation cards, menus and a cookbook. On the day I set up a...

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February 1st, 2018

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These few hours of pure honesty…

My mother, Enee, and I hosted a Death Dinner at the beginning of this year at her studio in St. Petersburg, Florida. As it was during my winter break from college in Massachusetts, most of the guests were my mother’s colleagues or family friends. Still, they were handpicked and chosen for their potential adaptability to this unique assemblage. It turns out that everyone who attended had a breathtaking story to tell that conveyed their strength as survivors and gratitude for deceased loved ones. The struggle, or the “deathing” process, was...

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February 1st, 2018