Dressed in earth colors and shades of purple, nearly forty people met at The Plant on Sunday to discuss death. Death Cafe is yet another cutting-edge Abundance NC event, the folks who brought Pecha Kucha to Pittsboro. The concept sprouted in London five and a half years ago and is quickly spreading across Europe, North America and Australia. The objective is “to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.”
Our hosts baked dozens of cupcakes and set up a coffee bar with locally roasted coffee from Plant neighbor Aromatic Roasting Company. Many guests brought plates of home-made confections. There were party lights and the hum of expectant energy. Settled in with coffee and cake, we began introducing ourselves.
Heartfelt and articulate, we heard from hospice professionals, women who had lost their husbands, men who had lost a child and people who hadn’t lost anyone yet but knew their time would inevitably arrive. Some spoke of good good-byes, others of natural burials, the world of the unseen, being awakened to death and unrequited grief. We talked about how common it was to care for the sick and dying at home a couple generations ago. How it was when family witnessed the transition and prepared the deceased for burial, often laying them to rest on family land.
With seventy-five million baby boomers aged fifty-two to seventy, the time is ripe for a new awareness. Many question the necessity of $7,000 to $10,000 funerals involving iron-clad coffins, embalming, and concrete liners. Biodegradable coffins and home burials are becoming common with the help of a blossoming natural death industry.
After two hours of listening and sharing, I left feeling less daunted by my aging parent’s eventual passing and more prepared to put my own affairs in order. And perhaps Bob and I will find a nice tree to settle under when our time on earth is up.
Piedmont Pine Coffins