Having been present for the end of life and death of both my husband Steve and my Dad Bryan, I realised how unequipped I was to manage with the day to day dealings and care of my loved ones. I felt I was much more prepared with my dad but still there were times when I felt out of my depth. Steve and I planned his funeral but there were still aspects that I wished I could have changed with more knowledge. We also knew my Dad’s funeral wishes and Mum and I laid him out, filled his coffin with herbs and flowers from the garden, he was with us in the house for several days whilst paperwork was finalised and with my brothers we buried him on his land. In the past there would have been people in our community who offered support and advice and I believe that this should be available in our modern world.
I have undertaken some initial training to become an End of Life Doula but after much thought have decided not to continue to qualify as an EOL Doula. What I am drawn to and will continue to do is to talk about Death and Dying, it will happen to us all and our families/friends and how prepared are we for this event?
In Anam Cara – Spiritual wisdom from the celtic world by John O’Donohue he talks of a presence that walks the road of life with you, it shadows your every thought & feeling. It came out of the womb with you & although this presence surrounds you, you may still be blind to its companionship. The name of this presence is death. We must remember that this is the death of our body & our soul continues the cycle. It is really another part of the journey, as important as our birth.
About Death Cafés:
- On the Death Café website (deathcafe.com), Death Cafés are described as a place “where people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and coffee, and discuss death.” The objective is “to increase awareness of death with a view to making the most of our finite lives”.
- Death Cafés are for everyone, not just those who are ill or bereaved or for whom there is currently a greater focus on death.
By getting together like this, we can hopefully help to make it more normal and more comfortable to talk about death, to see it as a part of life, and to accept more fully that it is inevitable for all living beings.
It’s an opportunity to talk about how the prospect of our death fits into our lives. It may encourage us to think about and write down what we would like at our end of life, to have conversations with others, friends and family.
- Death Cafés were started in the UK in 2011 by Jon Underwood, (based on the ideas of Bernard Crettatz, who ran Cafés Mortel in Switzerland). Jon held his first Death Café in his kitchen in Hackney. Today on the website there have been 8857 Death Cafés, in 65 countries. Jon died in June 2017 at the age of 44 from a type of leukaemia, but the movement continues, supported by the website he set up.
How it works
- There is no leader in the group and no agenda. This is a discussion about death (which may include dying and bereavement) directed by the members of the group. We usually find that some people come with ideas they want to talk about, and that gets the discussion going.
- We aim to make this an accessible, safe space for discussion, so we ask that you are all respectful of other people’s views, and allow other people airtime.
- Confidentiality is not always easy to maintain in this sort of setting but please also be respectful of other people’s stories. In that respect, we try to follow the idea of “what is talked about at a Death Café stays in a Death Café”, certainly in relation to identifiable information.
- A Death Café is not intended to be a grief support or counselling session, but sometimes participants do go away with some reassurance or insight.
- There is a facilitator on your table who will help the process if necessary.
- We will also be available at the end of the event if you need someone to talk to or just want a chat.
The Death Cafe at The Hub, Peterchurch will be held on the following Friday afternoons when the cafe is open serving drinks and cakes. No booking require, all are welcome to attend.
Life and Death Matters
Enjoy your life! Remember that our wonderful life is finite and just as there was a beginning with our birth, there will be an end with our death. Sometimes it’s not always easy to talk about this subject with our loved ones but ultimately it is important that they know what our wishes are, especially if we become unable to express them. Join me for a series of free discussion groups focusing on Life & Death Matters at The Hub, St Peters Church, Peterchurch HR2 0RT.
Saturday 7th October 2023 10am-12pm
Advance Statement is a document that states all the things that are important to you and planning so you can live the life you want until you die. It’s a written statement that sets down your preferences, wishes, belief and values regarding your future care and can be done at any stage of your life. I found writing an advance statement for myself was a very life affirming practice, it helped me realise the important people and things in my life and what gives me meaning in life. I will be suggesting some areas for contemplation and also resources so you can complete an Advance Statement.
The café will be open if you fancy a cuppa or breakfast butty.
Saturday 7th November 2023 10am -12pm
Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (ADRT) and Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
What do these mean?
ADRT is a legal document stating your end of life choices regarding treatment and interventions.
LPA is a legal document that allows another person the legal authority to make
healthcare and/or financial decisions on your behalf.
I will go into detail about these legal documents and resources you can use to access them.
The café will be open if you fancy a cuppa or breakfast butty.
With my qualifications, I am also able to offer for those dying and loved ones
- Yoga, Meditation, Breathing Techniques to help bring peace and comfort
- Soundscapes -being bathed with sounds from Himalayan singing bowls and gongs for deep relaxation.
- Aromatherapy, beautiful aromas and skincare products to feed the senses and look after the skin
- Reflexology massage for hands and feet to gently relax and soothe.
Please get in touch if you require these services 07904111334
There is a movement to offer End of life care and support called End of Life Doulas/ Death Doulas/Soul Midwives, these wonderful people offer so much to the person dying and their loved ones and I would highly recommend employing their services.
Are you or a loved on receiving palliative care and moving towards the end of life?
Companion Voices are singers based in the UK who gather to learn songs and prepare themselves to sing for people at the end of life. We share our voices, compassion and loving presence, whether in person or virtually, when called upon to do so.
We have come together to create a group of Companion Voices in Herefordshire. We feel drawn to sharing beautiful, simple songs from many traditions at the bedside of those who are soon to die. We are not a choir and its not a performance, more like an immersive gentle experience to bring comfort, peace and a sense of being held.
This service is free to all
For more information please get in touch
Call 07904111334 or 07791740887
or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We accept donations to support us with this work which is all done on a voluntary basis.
For more information on Companion Voices please go to the website www.companionvoices.org