A discussion in Forest Row will lift the lid on a subject usually considered taboo.
Village funeral directors Ballard and Shortall host a Death Cafe event on Wednesday, March 19.
Director Dave Holmden said: “Death and grief are too often seen as taboo topics in society, often only talked about behind closed doors. The Death Cafe is a great way to get people together to talk informally and openly about what many feel is a tricky and somewhat sensitive subject.”
Although the event is organised by funeral directors, a spokeswoman said discussion could be free-ranging.
She accepts many people might want to air their own views about dying - including where the event is likely to happen - the fears that circulate around dying at home, in hospital or in a hospice.
She added: “We hope they’ll feel more comfortable talking about the subject when there are other like-minded people around. We think one person’s frankness might encourage others to express views they might otherwise have only aired with close relatives or at home.”
Probably, they will focus on people’s end of life plans - arrangements for their own funerals or those of loved ones.
Death Cafes were inspired by the concept of ‘Café Mortals’, born out of the French ‘Philosophy Cafes’ originating in the 20th century. Organised by inventor and sociologist Bernard Crettaz ‘Café Mortals’ wanted to bring death into everyday conversation by holding discussion groups in public and this led to the birth of the Death Café. Since then, the social franchise has spread across Europe, North America and Australasia.
The team at Ballard & Shortall will welcome guests to its Forest Row branch for coffee and cake to chat and de-mystify the topic of death. Refreshments will be provided from 10am to 5pm, with experts on hand from leading funeral directors, CPJ Field & Co, in two informal discussion groups during from 11am-1pm and 3pm-5pm.
Pippa Yates, administrator at Ballard & Shortall, said: “We hope by hosting this Death Café, people can share their experiences and thoughts, as well as of course celebrate life and we look forward to welcoming people.”
To book contact Pippa or Dave Holmden on 01342 822120 or register online : http://deathcafe.com/deathcafe/435/#booking