Albany’s Death Cafe a place for some lively discussion

Dylan CapornThe West Australian
Death Cafe Albany co convenor Irene Montefiore.
Camera IconDeath Cafe Albany co convenor Irene Montefiore. Credit: Laurie Benson\Albany Advertiser

Irene Montefierre laughs when asked if the name of her monthly gathering in Albany is too blunt.

“When we first started we got a lot of people saying, ‘If you change the name I might come’, or, ‘That’s a terrible name’,” she said.

“To change the name would go against the whole ethos of the event, to treat death as a reality.

“If you start calling it the Passing Away Cafe, that would defeat its purpose, it just makes no sense — it’s the Death Cafe.”

Once a month for the past four years, the Death Cafe has met in Albany and enjoyed coffee and cake while discussing every-thing around the traditionally taboo topics of funeral planning, coping with grief and even building coffins.

Ms Montefierre, the co-convener of Albany’s Death Cafe who recently gave evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into end-of-life choices, believes lifting the veil around death is key to ensuring healthy debate about euthanasia.

“It’s just about the idea of trying to become a bit less afraid of the concept of death and I’m sure everyone dislikes the idea of dying, especially if they’re enjoying their life, but the fact remains we are all going to die,” she said. “If people are frightened to talk about death and dying, they can’t talk about choices at the end of life.

“The fact we’re able to talk about them means those discussions can be had in a safe environment — you get your eyes opened by talking with others.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails