Meet the woman launching a Death Cafe in Northampton to help people talk about grief and death

The cafe will encourage people to talk about 'the one certainty in life'

Monday, 24th February 2020, 6:30 pm
Shelley F Knight is starting a Death Cafe in Northampton after years of working as a chemotherapy nurse.

A Northampton woman is getting ready to launch a quarterly cafe to help people to talk about their experience with death.

Shelley F Knight has lived in Northampton and worked in the county as a chemotherapy nurse for many years.

The 46-year-old left nursing last year, but is still passionate about the end of life, so has turned her attention to launching a local Death Cafe.

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She said: “It’s to get people to talk about the only certainty in life.

“People just come together for coffee and cake in a sense of community. They will meet to talk about their experience. There’s no counselling or grief support.

“Everybody is different, some people will be feeling angry and some will feel sad but they all have the same connection of death.

“But a lot of people don’t like talking about death.”

The Death Cafe initiative is one that already exists as more than 10,000 sessions have been held across the globe in 69 countries.

Its main aim is to ‘increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.’

Shelley added: “I still have a passion for the end of life and the impact this has on others.

“It’s still a big part of my life and helping people move on.

“Life after you have lost someone is very different and I think it’s important to look after people.

“How we are raised is how we behave and deal with grief. So if our families don’t talk about it then we might not either.

“A lot of people do not talk about their grief but some need to because it’s healing.”

The first Northampton Death Cafe will be held on Wednesday March 11. There will then be a session every quarter.

Shelley said: “The sessions will be held every quarter or every season. There’s a whole thing about having to go through every season when you lose somebody.

“We’ll have a non-religious celebrant there and other volunteers.

“I’m hoping it will help people to talk about all the pains they are feeling whatever they are going through.

“I also hope that it helps people to get out of the house and away from isolation and get people moving forward in life and not feeling alone.

“People will share their stories with others and show that moving on is possible.”

The first Death Cafe will be held in a private space at Le Terraza Tapas Bar in Upton between 7pm and 8.30pm and is free to attend.