At its most recent gathering, Death Cafe Olympia invited people to discuss death and eat a brownie.
The informal group meets the last Wednesday of every month with a mix of strangers and familiar faces who come together over the topic of death.
More than 2,300 Death Cafes meet across the country and Europe as part of a loose nonprofit network intended to “increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives,” according to deathcafe.com.
More than a dozen people from all walks of life gathered Wednesday evening in a private room at Obsidian in downtown Olympia. The group is run by local resident Angela Kirkpatrick, who brought a plate of brownies Wednesday evening along with a small library of death-related books that folks could borrow.
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However, the Death Cafe isn’t all doom and gloom. Despite the heaviness of the subject, Wednesday’s open forum was relaxed and included its share of laughter among the simultaneous conversations.
Attendees sat around a table and chatted in smaller groups on a first-name basis with no formal agenda. Death was the common bond, but conversations naturally took tangents. Some people shared their experiences and reactions to death while others just sat back and listened.
For some participants, the grief was still fresh from losing a loved one. Two participants mentioned that they worked in palliative care. One woman whose husband had died several years ago described the Death Cafe meetings as “cathartic,” bringing a psychological release that’s similar to a good cry, she said.
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Death Cafe Olympia is hosting a Dia de los Muertos Party this month to raise money for the Thurston County Crisis Clinic. The event begins at 9 p.m. Oct. 27 at The Voyeur, 404 Fourth Ave. E.