“Dying Matters is a broad based and inclusive national coalition of more than 15,000 members, which aims to change public knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards death, dying and bereavement”.
Last week dying matters ran an umbrella event called ‘Dying Matters Awareness Week’. It’s focus was to address death head on. In the UK and indeed the majority of the western world we tend to hide death away under the carpet and not address it until it addresses us.
We decided to attend two Dying Matters events during the course of last week to learn and share some of our experiences. The first event that we attended was at Richard House Children’s Hospice in London. The main goal of Richard House is to help families with children and young adults with life-threatening conditions or complex healthcare needs. Proceedings started with a welcoming lunch. Peter Ellis, Chief Executive of Richard House then extended the welcome and introduced a panel of experts and two young adults with complex medical conditions. A series of discussions and workshops followed. Focus groups then explored different themes surrounding death.
Two days later we headed over to the Peace Hospice. The Peace Hospice is an adults hospice in Watford. Under the direction of Allison Troman-Nune the peace hospice ran a series of outreach arts focused projects into the local community. This work ended on Friday with an arts exhibition by local school children who addressed death through art.
Comedian Alexei Sayle confronts attitudes towards terminal illness and society’s last taboo in the short film Last Laugh, produced as part of Dying Matters Awareness Week.
We would finally like to thank Dying Matters for instigating thought and awareness over the course of the week as well as Richard House & The Peace Hospice for your welcoming hospitality.