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Bold approach to tackling a problem

Malvern Editorial 10th Dec, 2013 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

TALKING about death can transform your life, that is the message behind new sessions in the town which offer the opportunity to do just that.

The weekly ‘Death Café’ is a group gathering which takes place Friday mornings at 10am at Malvern Cube and helps those who have experienced the loss of someone talk about issues which are often bottled up.

Sue Friston, who runs the sessions, told the Observer: “A bereavement can have a whole range of effects on you.

“Most people who have lost somebody realise there are conversations they would have liked to have had with the person who has passed away, matters that could have been handled differently, questions which remain unanswered, the need to be better prepared for future funerals and ending of a life.

“When you start talking about it, you realise there are layers and layers of stuff which is just not discussed.”

Sue added it was often the practicalities of dealing with losing a loved one which people were unprepared for and found difficult, such as dealing with people’s finances and what to do with their property and belongings.

She said the sessions were not professional counselling and were open to any faith and sets of beliefs.

“It’s a sounding board, an opportunity to explore relevant areas of knowledge, traditions and cultures as well as sharing experiences, good and bad.

“Feelings and emotions are discussed and we hope to provide separate closed group sessions in the future should there be a call for more sensitive working through of grief and bereavement issues.

“Generally death is something people just don’t want to talk about and that should be respected.

“But for those who want and need to voice fears and concerns it’s important and there seems to be a real need for it.”

Sue started the sessions around five weeks ago as the need to talk about this often taboo subject became evident after her own personal experiences dealing with losing people close to her.

She said people’s reluctance to open up usually came from their own fear of dying, but added talking about it could really change people’s outlook.

“It does transform life, talking about death and losing someone makes the experience of and gratitude for life so much better.”

Tea, coffee and cakes are available and the workshops are free but donations are welcomed.

Contact Sue at suefriston@live.co.uk for more details about the meetings and visit www.deathcafe.com for more information.

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