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Okanagan Death Cafe discussions to allow open forum for matters of mortality

Click to play video: 'Okanagan hosts series of death cafes' Okanagan hosts series of death cafes
More than 7,500 death cafes have been held around the world since their inception eight years ago, but they're still gaining traction. Jules Knox reports on what exactly a death café is, and why organizers hope that learning about death will help people live their lives more fully – Jan 20, 2019

A Death Cafe could be coming to an Okanagan library near you.

Planned for three Okanagan Regional Library branches over the coming months, the Death Cafe events will bring together strangers to have an open discussion about death and dying.

“The purpose of the event is to bring more awareness to people’s lives that one day we are going to die, and have a comfortable environment to speak about dying and death,” facilitator Claudette Bouchard.

READ MORE: Dying for company: At ‘Death Cafes,’ folks chat about end-of-life issues (2013)

Bouchard said the Death Cafe events are not aimed at answering questions about death, “because we don’t have answers, but it is to put our concerns or fears or whatever troubles people on the table.”

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The Death Cafes held in the Okanagan are part of a wave of similar events that have been held around the world in recent years.

She said the Death Cafes allow participants to understand that they are not alone in the exploration of death and dying and that others have the same types of questions, feelings and doubts.

WATCH: Revelstoke cafe puts death on the agenda (Aired 2016)

Click to play video: 'Revelstoke café puts death on the agenda' Revelstoke café puts death on the agenda
Revelstoke café puts death on the agenda – Mar 9, 2016

Bouchard said it can often be easier for people to discuss death and dying with people they don’t know, rather than loved ones.

She said participants in the Death Cafes have come away feeling inspired, comforted and reassured.

READ MORE: Quebec professional orders want province to challenge medically-assisted dying law

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This is the third year Bouchard has been involved in organizing Death Cafes in the Okanagan. She said participants range in age from young adults to senior citizens.

A death cafe was held at the Kelowna branch on Sunday and future events are planned around the Okanagan.

Upcoming Death Cafes at the Okanagan Regional Library:

– Sunday, February 24, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Vernon Branch
– Sunday, March 24, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Summerland Branch
– Saturday, April 27, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Kelowna Branch
– Saturday, May 18, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Vernon Branch

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