March 9, 2016 9:47 pm

Revelstoke café puts death on the agenda


REVELSTOKE – Death can be hard to talk about, but one Revelstoke café owner is trying to change that.

Krista Manuel has started hosting death cafés where talking about dying is the only topic on the agenda.

It was quiet today, but on a Thursday in late February, Sangha Bean Cafe was packed.

Around 50 people showed up to talk about one thing: death.

Manuel, also practices what’s being called death midwifery, helping people plan for death.

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She read about the death café concept and decided to bring it home to Revelstoke.

“A death café is a group of people that sit together and talk about whatever comes up for them for death,” says Manuel. “There is no expert facilitating and directing conversation. There is no specific topic. There is no agenda so we are not trying to reach a specific outcome.”

All Manuel was hoping to do was get people talking about death.

“We need to make people aware that this is something that we can embrace in life and to not be afraid of talking about death. It is the one thing we all share in common. No one can avoid their own death and the death of loved ones,” she says.

Manuel hopes talking at the café may inspire some to start discussions with their families and make plans around death and dying.

“In order to really plan for something and to feel empowered around it, to feel like you have a little bit of control over how that is going to play out, you need to talk about it,” she says.

After talking with Manuel, Bob Gardali is planning to talk to his sisters about the way the family handles death.

“I just kind of want to get them thinking about [it]. Maybe there is a better way not only for the people that are dying but for the people who are left behind,” he says.

Some say the café can be a valuable way for people from different age groups to share their thoughts about death.

“A lot of us want to talk about it. We want to discuss it. We want to open it up so our families have discussions.” says participant Pat Wells.

It seems there is no shortage of people wanting talk about what is usually left unsaid.

Manuel is now hoping to host death cafés  on a regular basis.

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