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Death Education and Death Cafe, Feb. 11

What actually happens to the human body in the process of dying? A Falmouth physician will talk about death at the cellular level at the February death education class, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 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.

In a talk called “Death of the Human Body,” Dr. Alan Steinbach – a family practitioner with a Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics – will cover what is meant by the terms “ischemic death” and “apoptotic death” and how the way we live can affect the way we die. “Organs are complicated cooperative groups of cells, and organ death is what we witness, and will all eventually experience,” he says.

Steinbach, a facilitator for both Death Cafe and the Living With Dying discussion group that meets at 3 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at the Woods Hole Library, is a co-plaintiff with Dr. Roger Kligler of Falmouth in a legal action against the Massachusetts attorney general in an effort to decriminalize medical aid in dying. He currently practices at Convenient MD Urgent Care in Falmouth.

Death Cafe is 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 Feb. 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 event is 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.