...Petalumans will gather at the coffee shop to drink tea, eat cake, and face down the idea of death in what the organizer, Karen Garber, a Hospice nurse, hopes will become a monthly event.
“My overall goal is to dispel fear,” Garber said over tea at Aqus on a recent Friday. She was smiling, dressed in shades of violet, and not looking at all morbid. “We know this happens to every person who has ever been on earth. But when you bring it up, it’s so taboo, brows knit. I’m curious why that is. Why are people so fearful? I want to help people overcome that.”
Death Café is not unique to Petaluma; a British man started the first one in 2011 as an offshoot of gatherings popular in Switzerland and France called Café Mortels, where people came together in salon-like settings to talk openly about death. The gatherings have proliferated since then, with about 170 now worldwide.
They’ve sprung up from Florida to California and take place in homes, coffee shops, and restaurants — even cemeteries."