I told about five people that I was going to something called a death cafe – the reactions were mixed, but none was particularly positive. “Will it be full of goths?”, “How morbid”, “That’s weird.” The thing is that people don’t just find talking about death uncomfortable – they find the idea of talking about death uncomfortable. In general, we just don’t do it.
This is what inspired Jon Underwood to create the non-profit death cafe in 2011, based on the Swiss Cafe Mortel movement. As he saw it, western society has long outsourced discussions about death to doctors, nurses, priests and undertakers. The result, says Jon, is that we have lost control of one of the most significant events we ever have to face.
He suggested to various cafes in east London his idea of setting up a place to go and talk about death, but there were no takers. So the first death cafe in the UK was in Jon’s own house in Hackney and was run by his mother, Sue Barsky Reid, a psychotherapist.
– The Guardian