Death over Dinner has been happening in London, UK for over 20 years! As part of the Natural Death Centre charity launch in April 1991 in London, we conducted a huge dinner discussion with invited speakers. This became a common event. At the first one we had 120 guests, but numbers began to dwindle to about half that in the following years. We had a lavish three course vegetarian meal provided by a wonderful local chef. The speakers were followed by a discussion where people shared personal experiences and ideas over coffee and dessert.
These dinners were wonderful opportunities for networking, learning more about the choices and possibilities around dying at home and conducting funerals without funeral directors or just doing as much as you want yourself. At some dinners we offered themed tables, so you could decide that the afterlife was your theme of conversation around your table or perhaps you’d choose bereavement. Virginia Ironside, the agony aunt of The Independent hosted one such table for us. Inviting interesting hosts or speakers is attractive, but obviously not necessary.
I host Death Cafe Hampstead once a month on a Monday night at the delightful Cafe Rouge and talk about death over dinner, rather than coffee and cake.
In workshops as part of the Natural Death Centres educational program we have a long promoted Creative Ways of Preparing for Dying. On top of the list is invite your family and friends round for tea or dinner and discuss death and what your wishes are for your funeral etc. And as anyone knows who has been to a Death Dinner or a Death Cafe, this are uplifting and inspiring events, nothing morbid about them at all. The Natural Death Handbook is a wonderful source of inspiration, and IMO a must for every household, just like a first aid box would be. You can get old ones cheaply via Amazon or the latest one directly from the Natural Death Centre Charity. Look up their website, a rich mine of information, plus free magazine to download. www.naturaldeath.org.uk Enjoy your dinners! But it is nothing new. Well, not to us here.