The Interesting Eating Company, a popular Liverpool venue, is hosting their own Death Café this November after the owner’s own grief experience left her frustrated.
Hannah Todd, owner of The Interesting Eating Company on Allerton Road, explained the concept of a Death Café, which originated in America with the goal of uniting people who may find death and grief difficult topics to discuss in their daily lives.
“At a Death Cafe people – often strangers – gather to eat cake, drink tea, and discuss death. There’s no agenda, no hidden objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session and the objective is to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.”
Speaking about her own experience following the death of her mother, Hannah said: “My mum died, and I quickly realised how much I hated the euphemisms that surround death. People often ask me when I ‘lost’ my mum. But I didn’t lose her, I know exactly where she is. She’s currently in an urn halfway up the stairs! She is not lost, passed, at rest, sleeping eternally or in a better place. She didn’t slip anywhere or get called home. She died. But I also realised that not everyone is comfortable with this, so I had to read the room and be polite but in my experience the politeness actually made my own grief harder to deal with.”
Hannah previously hosted Death Café at Tusk several years ago and explains that she is experienced in coffee, tea, and cake and overqualified in morbidity.
“I’ve always had a touch of the macabre about me, and I used to host death cafes at a previous venue. The Victorians didn’t shy away from death and neither did previous generations, in fact they often saw it as something to celebrate. It’s a modern construct to keep death hush hush, but the reality is not talking about it won’t stop it from happening, but it could stop you from being prepared.”
The Interesting Eating Company will host their first Death Café on November 2nd at their Allerton Road venue.
“I chose the date because it’s also known as Day Of The Dead or All Souls Day when the dead can supposedly come back and visit. In Mexico they use an ‘ofrenda’ which is a place in the home to host pictures of the dead so they’re not forgotten. On this date I would usually light candles and wonder if the veil really is at its thinnest, and I thought it would be nice to do the same with others.”
Hannah believes that talking openly about death will help not only those who are grieving, but also those due to grieve, people who may be facing some scary times or a shock diagnosis. The Death Café is open to all, so long as they come with an open mind, patience and compassion.
“At Death Café we encourage people to have those difficult conversations about death. Do you know what songs your loved ones want played? Or which poem they hate? Are you helping those who are dying by never talking about it? We want to encourage people to be open and honest with their loved ones in a safe space during what can be an incredibly difficult time.”