Death Cafes should nurses be a part of them? - page 3

by PrayeRNurse

2,803 Views | 24 Comments

I am posting a short paper I found and was wondering if nurses should be a part of death cafes. Why or Why not? "Death cafes," a trend that started in England, is spreading across the USA. Story Highlights... Read More


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    Quote from tulip5
    But a culture that sees death cafes as something to celebrate... what have we become?
    Honest.

    I get where you're coming from, but I can't help but think about something my instructor said to me in an elective philosophy of death and dying class I took one semester in college. He made the point that the world used to be more like you described - with death being intimate and shared within a family. He also said those kinds of discussions were possible because the dying person knew he/she was dying. You fell off a horse and broke your leg, you could die. You got pneumonia and you could die. The time of death was no secret and anticipating it was what lead to discussions. However, now very few people know when they will die. People can die and be brought back to life countless times before permanent death occurs, so there is absolutely no certainty at all surrounding death. Humans don't like uncertainty and the unknown, which death has become with modern medicine. Death used to be a fact of everyday life but it's just not anymore.

    I think these kinds of cafes are necessary now because death is something to be feared in this culture and is often never shared with anyone. It's not within the family anymore. I don't know exactly what the statistics are for someone dying at home surrounded by loved ones, but I'm sure it's pretty low. We tend to hide our dying people in long term care and hospitals in the US, and with death sterilized and hidden away as if it's something foreign and scary it can be a difficult subject for people to broach. I'm glad someone's getting people to talk about death. We're all going to die one day, and being scared to death of death itself and planning for death doesn't do anyone good.
    nursel56 and marcopollo like this.
  2. 0
    Quote from tulip5
    "My partner doesn't want to talk about dying, especially about my dying, so it gave me a chance to explore ideas with other people. I found comfort in that."

    And therein lies the tragedy. I feel great sadness and compassion for the individual. The cafe served a good purpose for him/her and one hopes this person found a sympathetic ear.

    But a culture that sees death cafes as something to celebrate... what have we become?
    Hopefully it's just another avenue that fills a need in some people. I didn't really see it as so much different than any other support group, albeit an unusual one for our country (as the article stated the trend started in England). I see your point that the word "café" adds a layer of meaning (or lack thereof) not present in other groups of people who gather to discuss a common subject.
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    Simply one example: Many of the terminally ill wish to avoid the institutional end typically meted out by our society.

    At the same time, many family members / friends prefer not to participate in any other alternative.

    Now we have a demand for a service.

    Enter the Death Cafe... or chose your preferred noun for the service provider.
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    I see both sides of the story, but I also think that electronic media and the ability to reach out to people one has never met - and interact with them online - has changed the dying experience, so to speak. People may no longer feel as if they are dying alone (especially the ones who ARE, for whatever circumstances, having to do this alone), that there are people whom they can talk to without boundaries or restrictions, that they can quite literally say anything to without fear of rejection or of hurting someone they love.

    There have been cultures throughout history that celebrated death. The electronic age hasn't created this - it's always been there. I don't think people are thinking that 'hashing' out the details in public is creating something of substance. I think it's more of a validation of the experience and an acknowledgement of the process. We are all, after all, guaranteed to do it eventually. If it's a long, drawn-out, 'conscious' process (as it is so often in my world where I've discharged perfectly 'normal' looking people who are, for all intents and purposes, leaving the hospital to die), and you're sort of waiting for it to happen, I can see where chatting with others who are having a similar experience (or even 'safe' people) could be a comfort and a relief.

    I've watched people die who literally died alone - and not by choice. Relatively young people (sixty and less) who had absolutely no one left in the world for whatever reason. It's heartbreaking. And there have been ones who wanted that way - and that's fine too. I respect the decision as fiercely as I do that of the ones who want 'help' and friends and everyone around them.

    We're not celebrating death. We're celebrating, I think, the ability and resources that now exist for those who need or desire it.
    Havin' A Party! likes this.
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    Right, C.

    How numerous are the experiences we've all had... and heard about from others... where the most intimate details are disclosed to absolute strangers... if some connection is developed in the course of even a short interaction. One common one: an airplane ride.

    And these are details that we may not have shared... and don't intend to share... with folks much "closer" to us.


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