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City Beat: At L.A.'s first Death Cafe, tea, cake and talk of the end

April 15, 2013|By Nita Lelyveld
  • Betsy Trapasso, third from right, who describes herself as an end-of-life guide, holds the first Death Cafe in L.A. at her home in Topanga Canyon.
Betsy Trapasso, third from right, who describes herself as an end-of-life… (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles…)

Few people like to talk about dying. A grassroots movement is trying to change attitudes.

It's called the Death Cafe--and its central notions are that death deserves discourse and that learning to think and talk about it without anxiety can help people live their lives most fully.

There's no profit motive, no set agenda. Tea and cake are served. The aim is to provide a comfortable setting so that people can talk about death without fear.

I recently attended L.A.'s first Death Cafe, at the Topanga Canyon home of Betsy Trapasso, an end-of-life guide. The invited group was eclectic and included a psychologist, a film director, and a Los Angeles police sergeant who talked about his encounters with sudden, violent death.

The conversation spanned many subjects, including how people would choose to die if they could choose, the loss of beloved pets, the many different ways people grieve and the ways in which some other cultures better integrate contemplation of death into everyday life.

It was a fascinating afternoon. To find out more about L.A.'s first Death Cafe, read my story here.

And keep reading below to see the visual story, in photos and videos, that I sent out on Twitter:

[View the story "At L.A.'s Death Cafe, tea, cake & talk of dying" on Storify]

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Follow City Beat on Twitter and Facebook. Read more City Beats here.

Email ideas for future City Beats to nita.lelyveld@latimes.com

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