Actor and director Woody Allen once said, “It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” Most people feel the same way about the thought of their own mortality – and since they don’t like to think about the inevitability of death, they certainly don’t want to talk about it.

VNA wants to take death out of the closet and talk about it openly in a discussion group format. Death Cafés are part of an international movement that started in Europe and has been forming across the globe for the past several years. “The objective of a Death Café is the increased awareness of death and to encourage people to make the most of their lives,” says Ann LaRocque, Bereavement Counselor at RAVNAH and co-founder of the group in Rutland. “We encourage people to bring their questions, experiences and thoughts to the gathering.” A Death Café is not a support group, nor a counseling session nor even a workshop. It’s simply a group of community members coming together in a relaxed atmosphere over coffee, tea and goodies and sharing thought-provoking and life-affirming conversations.