Death Cafes spreading across the globe
TULSA — What are your thoughts on death? Have you discussed them with your family and friends? Would you discuss them with complete strangers? That's the premise behind a trend sweeping the globe called Death Cafes.A death cafe starts with delicious food like cupcakes, cake or other appetizers. People gather in a room or around a table and begin to introduce themselves, sharing their story. Then the conversation turns to death. A topic that might make most people run and hide."It's a scary name and a lot of people do say that, but once people do come and see kind of how it goes, they realize it's not really that scary," said licensed professional counselor Robert Mouser.The third Thursday of every month, a meeting room at the Campbell Hotel in Tulsa becomes a place where people of all walks of life discuss everything from life after death to encounters with angels to physician assisted suicide."It's almost taboo. People are scared to talk about it," said death cafe attendee Kari Murphy.But death is a topic that's becoming less taboo. The death cafe trend is sweeping the planet from California to Massachusetts, from Denmark to Great Britain.Mouser said," People are curious. The curiosity is there."Mouser is the man behind Tulsa's death cafe. He's a counselor with the Tristesse Grief Center. He says to talk about death is often something people who've experienced loss need the most. In fact, nearly every single person at the death cafe Fox 25 attended, has experienced a recent death. Some of those deaths were tragic, some sudden and all of them painful for those left behind."She was in a car wreck. She was driving too fast, ran a red light. She didn't have a seat belt," said Murphy. Murphy's teenage daughter Chelsea was killed just days after Christmas 2014. She came here, because death is something many around her are too afraid to talk about."There's no way to understand it," Murphy said. "There's no rhyme or reason. You look for ways to get through it and I think that is sharing death with other people."Roger Peacock lost his wife Pat to stage four breast cancer two and a half years ago. The cancer took her just two short months after diagnosis. Attending the death cafe is helping to bring Peacock out of the darkness surrounding Pat's death."The talking and visiting and sharing and loving and crying and laughing are extremely valuable," Peacock said.Each person at a death cafe meeting brings their own perspectives, their own stories and their own believes. In return, the entire group shows respect for those views."Death is not something to be feared or dreaded," Peacock said. "What is feared and dreaded is the unknown after it takes place."That fear of the unknown is something Roger has worked through himself, not only because of his wife's death, but because he's facing his own death."I was diagnosed with stage four metastatic prostate cancer six years ago this June," he said. "This form of cancer cannot be killed."Roger doesn't fear death, he longs to see his bride. Murphy believes random hearts she sees throughout the day are her daughter saying it's ok. Each person at a death cafe has a story and each story has a perspective on death. None of these perspective would ever be heard, if people like Murphy and Peacock weren't courageous enough to share them."What's life about if it's not being relational and learning and loving each other," Murphy said. "I think this is how we get through it."It's important to note the death cafe is not meant to be a counseling or therapy session. Those who need that are encouraged to seek that out elsewhere.To learn more about the death cafes around the world, click here.