Absent Friends Suppers

Community supper at Serenity Cafe

Comas is a social innovation charity that uses community development to help people find the solutions they need. They develop communities between disconnected and isolated people, and support people who have enduring health, mental health and social problems.

On Friday 6th November, Comas held an informal community supper with tributes and stories to loved ones who have died after struggling with addiction or alcoholism:

We decorated the room with flowers and created a memorial table of photographs and comments.

In candlelight people were invited to share their memories and reflections about people they have known. We followed a format people in recovery are very familiar with: sharing thoughts and feelings in an informal circle. A member of the group started by sharing memories about his sister, with childhood anecdotes and the story of her troubled life and her death. Other participants followed this lead, and we closed the circle by reading a poem.

We then moved to the café area to share some supper, enabling people to process from their sad feelings and memories to the present, so that by the time they were going home, they felt good about the evening.

Supper helped cement friendships and new connections. Afterwards we asked people for feedback. Everyone who came felt it was an important evening to have in the community’s calendar, and said they knew of other people who would have benefited from attending.

People felt it was an important way to acknowledge those who have died and to share some of their story. We have decided to develop it as an annual event, so that we can ensure people who are bereaved during each year are specially remembered.

Some of the Facebook comments:

“Thank You, What a wonderful Honourable thing to do . I was thinking of you last night xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx”

“Such a lovely reading you put there. I felt moved just reading. Actually brought a tear to my eye. About all the lost loved ones.”

“What a great idea.”

“Gutted I can't make tonight. Will be thinking of all our lost loved ones x”

“Lovely wee evening remembering loved ones through the collective sharing of memories, thoughts and feelings."

"Sad, funny and poignant we shared in community with each other and enjoyed remembering what was good about the person’s life."

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