About a year after my dad died, I read this Atlas Obscura article about death cafes. A death cafe is a gathering of strangers who talk frankly about death while drinking tea and eating cake. It’s not meant to be a therapy session or support group; its purpose is to philosophically discuss this most taboo topic.

I was intrigued by this movement because my dad died suddenly, and I found myself totally unprepared for his death. Not only emotionally but also…logistically. Did he want to be cremated? Where did he want to be buried? My brother and I guessed wrong in both cases, we found out after the fact. Why did we not know the answers?

I finally attended my first death cafe recently. There’s a handy Death Cafe website that has a search function so you can find local events.

I was surprised by the number of young people (i.e., college-aged) at the event. Most people had experienced the death of a loved one and were trying to make some sort of sense of it. A few participants were studying death rituals and people’s beliefs about death. The hour and a half went by in a blink.

Afterward, I felt comforted, almost relieved, to be able to talk about something that people don’t like to talk about. I look forward to attending another one soon.