Lara McIntyre invites people to talk about death at the George Mackie Library on Nov. 1. (Grace Kennedy photo)

Death and dessert: North Delta library to host end-of-life discussion group

“I realized it’s just not something that … is really talked about, unless maybe you’re at a funeral.”

On Nov. 1, Lara McIntyre wants people to eat cake. And talk about death.

“There’s a lot of things in society that can get in the way of us living,” she said. “Death is one that I thought I’d tackle.”

Sitting at a table in the George Mackie Library, McIntyre doesn’t look like someone who’d be excited to talk about death, with her bright clothes and and sunny demeanour. But for her, it’s something that’s important for people to discuss.

“It seemed like a good idea to have a space for people to have these discussions, that it’s okay to talk about it,” she continued. “Get it out in the open, so that life can be more fulfilling.”

That’s why, between September and January, McIntyre is holding six different Death Cafés at various Fraser Valley Regional libraries, open forums for people to discuss death and what it means to them. There’s no agenda, and no set discussion topics.

In fact, the only guarantee is there will be cake: it’s mandated at every Death Café, part of the social franchise that started in the United Kingdom.

McIntyre first discovered Death Cafés in November 2016, when she was a student in the counselling program at Rhodes Wellness College in Vancouver.

At the time, McIntyre was unsure whether she would be diagnosed with ovarian cancer (she wasn’t) and was still coping the death of her sister nearly five years earlier.

Her sister passed away at age 51 from complications due to multiple sclerosis. She died in hospice, and McIntyre said “it was lovely.

“I mean, it was very sad, but it was beautiful too.”

“It was really interesting watching other people’s grief and seeing them experience a different facet of it,” she continued. “And I realized it’s just not something that, in my culture, is really talked about, unless maybe you’re at a funeral or something.”

That’s why she decided to host her own Death Café.

The first one was held at the Ladner Pioneer Library on Sept. 11.

“It was lovely,” she said, then sighed. “It was so inclusive.”

Only a handful of people came, she said, and they ranged in age from 20 to 90 years old. Some were dealing with active grief, while others were preparing to die. The prevailing theme was that the people in the attendees’ lives were ready for them to stop talking about death, but they weren’t, McIntyre said.

McIntyre will be hosting five more Death Cafés: Oct. 23 at the White Rock Library, Nov. 1 at the George Mackie Library, Nov. 20 at the Ladner Pioneer Library, Dec. 4 at the White Rock Library and Jan. 17 at the George Mackie Library. All start at 6:45 p.m.

“I’m excited about the one here [in North Delta], I hope we get lots of people,” McIntyre said. “But even if one person shows up, that’s what it’s supposed to be.”



grace.kennedy@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langley artist Lalita Hamill launches new website to showcase art and share instructional videos

A Zoom session on Saturday, July 18, will serve as a free art assessment and critique at 10 a.m.

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Vandals deface Aldergrove elementary school with racist slur, male genitalia

Langley School District confirms it has filed a report with the Langley RCMP

‘Our hands are tied’: Langley Good Times Cruise-In announces cancellation due to COVID-19

People are encouraged to donate to the chosen Langley charities online, said Cruise-In director

Langley Township lifts evacuation alert as flooding threat drops

People are still advised to avoid the Fraser River due to fast running water

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Most Read