I talked about Death at the Death Cafe, and it didn't kill me.

- Anonymous

Death is a scary word, a scary idea. But it doesn't have to be. That's what Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions is trying to show the community of Casper. And one of the ways they're doing that is by hosting a 'Death Café.'

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CWHT is hosting a 'Death Café' on March 21 at Barbarian Coffee Roasters, in downtown Casper.

That's according to a press release from Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions, which states that the 'Death Café' is "an empowering conversation around death and dying, aimed at increasing awareness of and de-mystifying death to help people make the most of their adult lives."

"It's not death if you refuse it," wrote comic book writer James O'Barr, in his perennial graphic novel, The Crow. And that's true. Death doesn't have to be scary; it doesn't have to be paralyzing.

It doesn't have to be 'the end of the conversation.'

That's what CWHT aims to teach the community and events like the 'Death Café' are created to open up the conversation about a previously off-limits topic.

“Our society is much more removed from death than in the past,” said Susan Burk, the Community Liaison for Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions. “The more we talk about death the less we fear it. Death Café is not bereavement support or grief counseling. It’s an open and authentic discussion about death, and it can go in surprising directions."

Those directions depend on the people speaking. Sometimes there is laughter. Sometimes there are tears. Oftentimes, there are both. And all of it is okay.

"We drink coffee, eat cake, and talk about death," Burk said.

It's that simple - no more, no less. The simplicity of the event is indicative of how CWHT feels about death - it's not something to cower from, not something to run from, not something to ignore. It's a reality, and talking about it takes away the power.

The 'Death Café' is happening on March 21 at 6:00 p.m. Bavarian Coffee Roasters, located at 136 S. Center Street is hosting the event, which is free and open to the public.

"Coffee, treats, and companionship are provided," the release stated. "Please bring your thoughts, attitudes, hopes, and fears concerning death."

This is an event for anybody who has experienced death, in its many incarnations.; whether they've lost a loved one, or come close themselves. It's a way for Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions to remind citizens that they're not alone in their grief; that CWHT is with them.

I believe that the culture of silence surrounding death should be broken through discussion, gathering, art, innovation, and scholarship.

- The Order of the Good Death


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