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TALKING ABOUT DYING

Community Death Education Class and Death Cafe

“Dying As I Know It: How to Skillfully Open a Dialogue about Death” will be the subject of the November community death education class, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11, at First Congregational Church of Falmouth on the Village Green. The Cape Cod Death Cafe will precede the presentation, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., featuring facilitated conversation on matters relating to death, dying and mortality. Refreshments will be served.

Ron Hoffman of West Falmouth, founder and executive director of Compassionate Care ALS and author of “Sacred Bullet: Transforming Trauma to Grace while Tending the Terminally Ill,” helps people and their families navigate the complexities of living and dying with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. “There is no handbook on being with a friend, family member or patient with a terminal disease,” he says. “As a culture that does not talk about death, there is a hole in the patient experience as death approaches, often with no one with whom to express wants and needs.” Hoffman will describe the landscape of a terminal illness and meaningful ways to create dialogue about death and dying for everyone involved. He will define and discuss “tending,” the art of showing up fully for those facing terminal illness.

Opening the evening, at 6:30, will be a one-hour Death Cafe — part of an international social franchise started in Europe to encourage people to talk about the taboo subject of death. It is simply a gathering in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with refreshments, allowing us to share a respectful, engaging, thought-provoking and life-affirming conversation on any topics related to death and dying. The objective is to increase awareness with a view to lessening the fear of death while enhancing life.

A Death Cafe gathering is a group-directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes, nor affiliated religious organization. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session. The monthly death education programs follow each Death Cafe and feature a wide range of topics of interest and concern related to death, dying and bereavement.

The two sessions on Nov. 11 are distinct, and folks may attend either portion, or both.

Beverages and desserts will be provided. The events are free, and all are welcome. Donations for out-of-pocket expenses and future programming are always gratefully accepted.

The events are hosted by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts and First Congregational Church of Falmouth. For more information call Heather Massey at 508-457-1612 or visit deathcafe.com. More information about Compassionate Care ALS can be found at ccals.org.