Mallorca Death Café

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Since last December, I have been hosting regular Death Cafés in the village of Binissalem where I live.  This summer I also hosted one in our capital Palma and last weekend another up in the beautiful mountains in the village of Deia.  To say I am happy I discovered the Death Café movement is an understatement – I am ecstatic!

As a bit of background first and taken from the Death Café website to make it clear:  “at a Death Café people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death. The objective is ‘to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives’ and is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes”.

Every meeting I have ever hosted has been unique but perhaps one regular occurrence is that whilst I may try to suggest topics of discussion, my wonderful DC members prefer to do it their way!  If I were to give our encounters a quality, I would say that respect pours out of everyone at every encounter.  Some people’s opinions on death can be very different but the atmosphere of respect makes every opinion count.  I have learned a lot about myself too and see that my opinions are constantly challenged in the setting of my head whilst I hear what other people have to say about subjects about which I may have previously been quite closed.

Everything about the Death Café movement has me excited!  From the name itself – after all saying the word death generates so many reactions,  from horrified facial expressions to curious bemusement!  In all cases it does get people talking!  The guidelines suggested for hosting a death café are also entrancing!  Setting a death café in a tea room or eco café, enjoying tea and cake, how could I not enjoy conversation about death in this type of setting.  For my village to boast an eco café serving the best in tea and cake makes every encounter that much sweeter (plus the kilos have been piling on)!

Whilst the guidelines do advise that a death cafe is not a bereavement support group, even that has been questioned in one of my events simply because Mallorca is not yet set up to offer the recently bereaved a setting for support as I recently discovered.  Seeing the compassion and love so freely shared in a recent event towards a grieving widow made me proud of my fellow sisters and brothers residing on planet earth and I saw how the death café can help.

We meet to talk about death and through that we talk about life, about hope, about different cultures and we break down the taboo around death.  We challenge ourselves and our opinions and beliefs always in an atmosphere of respect and interest.  Our conversations are our inner most thoughts and reflections, shared perhaps for the very first time.  In short, these encounters free us up to get on with life and living and I am so glad to have discovered the Death Café movement.

Find a Death Café near you          www.deathcafe.com

Enjoy tea & cake near me              L’Exquisit, C/Rectoria 2, Binissalem, 07350 Mallorca

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Magic and the secret garden

Some of you may recall that I “won” the Euro Millions recently, a nice little amount of 15 million euros and that I spent it in a flash – this all happened in my head in a 30 minute drive from Palma to school pick up!  I bought a load of property, gifted it around, including my favourite building of all time which I turned into the Binissalem Peace Centre!  I also bought my lovely eco café people Javi and Elena a building and also my son’s eco school a building, amongst other things!

Today, I discovered that the building I had ear-marked for the Peace Centre is the new location for my son’s school! I am sitting writing this with the biggest smile on my face as I enjoy the wonder of magic and knowing that believing is seeing and even if I do see it slightly differently, it all works out!!  I shall have to relocate my Peace Centre but what a result with the win!

Just before I heard the news, I had parked my car and seen a sign saying “Euromillones – 63 millones” and what do you think I did!  I went and “won” it again!

I spent it in the 12 minutes it takes to drive from the school back home and you’ll be happy to know that the following got 10 million each – Mallorca based not for profits PermaMed, Ondine and Fundación Sa Llavor and London based Communities Empowerment Network.  They will be able to carry on doing what they do so brilliantly already and this money will help them take the pressure off, to get really stuck in and take what they already do so selflessly to a new level.  From promoting permaculture to a wider audience, to keeping our seas and oceans clean and also devloping new ways of holistically educating and caring for our next generations.

I also put aside 5 million to create old people communities including making sure that there is a healthy support for the dying and a million of that was donated to the awesome people at Capsula Mundi to help with their development of the burial pod.

Eight million euros was used island wide for culture and the arts and lots of projects, existing and new, got lucky by being gifted money to help promote culture and the arts.  First born is well happy with the new studio and jazz appreciation school!

I’ve got 10 million left over but I want to go abroad and go back to my roots, Jamaica and Wales, and see what I can do there with the money.  Watch this space.

I’m happy and content – 63 million euros well spent!

Special moments

 

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What a weekend!  I facilitated the monthly Death Café on Friday evening in my favourite eco café, L’Exquisit and we were nineteen, a record breaker and hardly any room left to move! Although I try to propose different ways of doing things, the group always seems to want to remain in the big circle and talk, one by one.  However, if numbers continue to rise, we’ll have to occupy the whole café and not just the back room!

This meeting was a little bit different as I was inspired to ask at the beginning, along with each person’s introduction, for everyone to share a quality that they believed people would use to describe them when they were no longer here!  That shook things up and some found it a little surprising to think that far ahead.  I went back to qualities at the end of the session by asking everyone what quality they would take with them until the next meeting, one that they would imbibe, include and inspire in their daily lives – mine was faith, oh and being present, I wanted two qualities!

The monthly meetings are always moments of insight with the wonderful experience of hearing from other people and enjoying their take on matters.  Each meeting attracts many new people and I love seeing the core members there, time and again.

As usual, it all too soon came to an end but the next Mallorca Death Café will be on Friday 17th June at 6.30pm – all welcome and although the meeting is conducted in Spanish, there is always translation available.

The weekend continued with a wedding on the beach at which I was invited to officiate the ceremony.  I had worked closely with the couple to get the ceremony just right and wow, didn’t we do well!  It helped that the couple – not a first love but definitely a match made in heaven – were two people enjoying a thoroughly “conscious relationship” as demonstrated by their thoughts and opinions on what marriage meant to them which was shared in the ceremony.

I was truly honoured to facilitate this moment in their lives and the groom spoke about conscious commitment whilst the bride added that freedom can be found in the commitment two people make.  Their relationship is at once a mature one and totally childlike in its innocence.  And to top it all, the some fifteen young people and children there were mesmerised by the more than half an hour we took for the ceremony.  Never have I seen such full and present attention and to see it from young people took my breath away.

From the wedding, it was onto see first born perform his gipsy jazz duo with him on guitar and singing accompanied by young Gavin on guitar.  He is a natural that boy (dare I say he takes after my side of the family!!) and his humble confidence on stage is a delight to see.  His voice is a gift from the gods and his hard work and dedication is plain to see.  The two young musicians worked hard to please us with their sound and my only complaint is that society has forgotten how to listen.  Luckily, there were some audience members who took no hostages and shushed for people to stop talking!

Special moments, they come and they go, and when they come,  so many at once, life is pure wonder!

 

L’Exquisit – eco café located in C/Rectoria 2, Binissalem

Djaume Reinhardt Jazz & Swing – available for weddings, concerts and private events, contact Noah on +34 630 590 262

Mallorca Death Cafe – monthly meetings in L’Exquisit or ask me about hosting your own

Wedding celebrant – http://www.glynisgermancelebrant.com

Dying to get there

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I returned as a volunteer recently to the Mallorcan association, Dime Cuenta Con Nosotros, a group of dedicated volunteers who visit the two palliative care units on the island.  It has been some years since I have spent Tuesday mornings visiting patients and their families, but I am happy to be back for a number of reasons.

Death is a topic I am curious about, a curiosity that has been there for some time, years in fact.  I don’t know where this curiosity came from, but the subject of death has always been a healthy and matter of fact topic present in the background of my life.  My earliest memories of death was attending the funeral of my beloved nain, my father’s mother, up in North Wales on a windy day.  My younger sister and I spent the time of the graveside ceremony running amok through gravestones and having a rather fun time.

Some years later when I was about 13 years old, my mother picked up the newspaper one day and asked if I knew a girl named Sue.  The headlines explained how her father had shot her whilst she slept and then shot himself, apparently desperate with financial troubles.  My mother broke the news in a very natural way, and I remember that whilst I cried from shock, part of me felt that I didn’t have to cry.  Certainly my mother treated the subject naturally even though the setting was horrifying.

As I headed to my twenties, grandparents died at home, suddenly, not ill but just time for them to go.  Death was celebrated as a life well lived and a death well had, I was blessed, very blessed to have these experiences.  Not everyone is so lucky and death is a subject that brings with it fears, confusion, mystery and for perhaps a few a certain understanding.

Returning to Dime is an honour for me.  There I meet professionals working in the health sector, dealing with death in a dignified and respectful manner.  From the nurses to the doctors, from the psychologists and social workers and to the volunteers, all are learning from their experiences and learning all the time.  Training is given on a regular basis to the volunteers and Dime is fortunate to receive the support of some amazing individuals on this island.  Thanks to charities like Cala Nova Cancer Care Charity Shop, their fund raising and generous donations allow Dime to do what they do which is sending volunteers like me in to visit the many patients facing perhaps one of their biggest challenges ever.

What do I do?  I enter a patient’s room and politely ask if they would like a visit.  In a hospice setting this adds to the quality of care received by the patient.  Why?  We provide support to those inspiring individuals who work in the day-to-day care and treatment of those with cancer and perhaps other life changing illnesses.  We are incognito, we come and we go.  We listen and hold hands and if we need to, we can cry with a family member.  We can try to take them away from their own day-to-day, just for a moment.  Or perhaps we’ll be blessed to help them face what’s ahead.  We can hear what is not said if we are silent, and we can give and spread love for a while, as much as we can.

It is an honour to be part of the team at Dime and it is a privilege to spend time with people facing challenges I cannot imagine.  I can’t change the world, but I can change my attitude about life and perhaps I can, just for a moment, provide a listening ear to someone.

 

Dime Cuenta Con Nosotros relies on donations and are always grateful for support.  If you would like to be a volunteer and have languages, Spanish necessary, then please contact them directly – http://www.cuentaconnosotros.es