This week is ‘Dying Matters Awareness Week’ and the theme is ‘Dying to be Heard’.
This is a time for us to reflect on how it is important that we speak with friends and loved ones about the very sensitive subjects of death and dying. It is true that as a society we so often fear having these conversations and we live our lives trying to ignore the reality of death. It must be even harder for people who are lonely and socially isolated who don’t even have anyone to speak to about this subject and to know they are being genuinely listened to when it matters most.
My Dad died in September of last year, although heart breaking, I feel blessed that we as a family got to share his last days with him in a very loving way. My Dad never went one day without someone visiting him while he was in hospital or the nursing home he stayed towards the end of his life. When he died he knew that we all loved him, not least because we could tell him every time we saw him. After his death our family have made sure to speak of Dad often, which can be upsetting but also bringing much joy. I also went to see a counsellor during the time my Dad was dying and after his death, this too brought a lot of healing and peace for me.
Having said all that, I do realise that I am very lucky to have in many ways a positive experience of death and dying. There are too many in our local community who don’t have the same experience that I had.
Our thoughts at Empowerment are with all those people now, whose loved ones have died with Covid 19. Many of them alone and without family and friends around them – I cannot imagine how painful this must be!
We know in Blackpool that people have died in our own communities, some of these are the very people our team have supported. Now, it is more important than ever to encourage and support a culture whereby we can talk openly about death, and provide spaces for those who are grieving to talk openly and honestly about how they are feeling.
This will mean that for any of us we have to challenge our own discomfort about both talking and listening to conversations about death.
To start that process, you can do no better than checking out the wonderful resources to be found here: https://www.dyingmatters.org/AwarenessWeek
Empowerment are a family of people who pride themselves on creating opportunities for people to talk about their experiences. Death is no exception and we are working together to identify ways in which we can do this in the near future. Will you join us?