Death Cafes

In American society, one of the strongest taboos is against death. Death is viewed as a sensitive and uncomfortable subject that many individuals choose to avoid due to the negative connotation associated with it. Due to this, death is not something discussed openly in public, therefore, there has recently been an outburst in what is known as death cafes. These death cafes are exactly what they sound like; cafes dedicated to the topic of death.

Originally starting in Europe, death cafes have spread to America in the past several years. They provide a comfortable setting where people who have lost someone can openly grieve with others and relate with one another. The people who go to these cafes come from various backgrounds, varying from a widow to a hospice nurse. One of the interviewees from the article is a pastor and what really struck me as surprising is how he views death as a “great intimacy than sex.” Because death is viewed as such a private matter, many individuals do not get the support they need when someone they love dies. Friends and family members only give the person a certain time period to mourn for their loss and then grieve in silence. Thus, these death cafes provide a place of relief and complete openness where no emotions or thoughts have to be censored.


The need to create these death cafes demonstrates how uneasy death makes society feel— to the point where death cafes to serve as a safe place where people who have dealt with death can cope and feel free to express themselves. I thought this really tied in to what we have talked about in class before of how in many cultures dealing with death is a very private affair or mourners are given a certain time frame where they are allowed to grieve and afterwards they can no longer grieve in public. This mentality shows why the creation of death cafes has become so popular and also shows how sad it is that in order to talk about death freely, it must be in a secluded area away from the majority of society. This shows that we have a long way to go on our approach towards death and the taboo that surrounds it.



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