good life, good death, good grief

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Demystifying Death Week

Taking place across Scotland from 10-16 May, Demystifying Death Week is about shining a light on death, dying and bereavement in Scotland. We are encouraging people to get involved by holding online events that bring death, dying and bereavement into the limelight.

Why?

People usually want to do the right thing when someone they know is caring, dying or grieving. But often they can feel awkward offering help, or worry about making things worse.

People often have questions about serious illness or death. But often they don't know who to ask.

Making plans when you’re healthy means there is less to think about when you’re ill. But often people put off making plans until it is too late.

Demystifying Death week is about giving people knowledge, skills and opportunities to plan and support each other through death, dying, loss and care.

Background

Since the first death awareness week back in 2013, each May, people across Scotland have organised local events giving people the chance to talk about death, dying and bereavement.

Hospices, community groups, NHS and arts organisations have organised a range of events including death cafes, pebble painting, exhibitions, information stands, film showings, discussion groups and much more.

Events

Covid-19 restrictions to face-to-face meetings mean that this year will look very different. Plans include the launch of a new online Death Club, and a suite of new public information films.

Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief is inviting members to get involved by putting on their own events, and is providing support to help people take their events online. Potential ideas for events include online lectures, information events or discussion sessions; online film screenings and book clubs.

More information about Demystifying Death Week, including links to further information and resources, is available here: Demystifying Death Week

To Absent Friends Festival 2020

This week, Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief is proud to launch the To Absent Friends festival 2020. Heralded as a ‘people’s festival of storytelling and remembrance’ the festival takes place from 1-7 November across Scotland - online, in public spaces and in people’s hearts and minds.

This year's festival will sees the launch of the To Absent Friends Cookbook – a collection of recipes and stories for those loved and lost. The virtual book has been put together by Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Scottish Care, Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care and Sue Ryder.

“Working to support people who are bereaved, we see how important it is to make time in our lives to remember people who have died. 2020 has brought loss and grief to many, while also preventing people from getting their usual support from friends and family. We’ve seen how hard this has made life for people who are grieving. The To Absent Friends festival is an opportunity and an excuse for people to take a moment in their busy lives to remember people who have died, whether recently or long ago.” said Nicola Reed of Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland, who shared a her Dad’s special stew recipe for the Cookbook.

The To Absent Friends Cookbook brings together stories of people who have died, alongside recipes that have special significance for the people they left behind. A mother’s recipe for stovies, a friend’s delicious traybake, a much-loved daughter’s favourite pie.

“When we were compiling the cookbook, we noticed that most of the food people connect with loving memories is delicious, homely and comforting, like a shepherd’s pie, or a simple occasion cake. And the stories that come with the recipes are a delightful mix of love, laughter and tears. It is particularly poignant to be publishing this book this year, in times of covid-19, when so much loss has been suffered by so many.” said Rebecca Patterson, Director of Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief.

The launch of the To Absent Friends Cookbook is just one of many activities taking place as part of the festival this week, as communities from across Scotland hold local remembrance events. With most face-to-face gatherings out of the question this year, much is taking place online and planners are finding innovative ways of creating time and space for remembrance.

For example people living in Willowbrae, Edinburgh are creating a ‘wanderland’ of home window displays in memory of people who have died; Action Porty are providing individual kits to enable households to have beach bonfires of remembrance; and North Argyll Carers Centre has invited bereaved carers to contribute to a beautiful light installation which will be suspended within North Argyll Carers Centre to be viewed from the windows during the festival. A full list of festival events is available here: Festival Events 2020

“I think that this year most of us have been craving human connection. And that is what this festival is about – connecting with each other over shared memories and stories. Perhaps this year, when it is hardest to organise a festival, it is more needed than ever before.” said Richard Meade, Head of Policy and Public Affairs Scotland at Marie Curie.

To Absent Friends is a reminder, an opportunity and an excuse to create time and space to remember the important people in our lives who have died. We invite members of the public to get involved, even at short notice, from the comfort of their armchair.

Get involved

Visit the festival website www.toabsentfriends.org.uk to share a special memory on the online wall of remembrance, add a song to the Remembrance Playlist, or tweet #ToAbsentFriends throughout the week. A full list of this year’s events is available here: https://www.toabsentfriends.org.uk/blogs/festival-events-2020/

Truacanta Online Events

Upcoming Workshops -

The Truacanta Project is delighted to announce three fortnightly online workshops - on 29th October, 12th & 26th November - for anyone looking to build on or interested in finding out more about compassionate communities work and work around death, dying and bereavement in Scotland:

  • Bringing death, dying and bereavement work online
  • A community development approach
  • Creating inclusive, accessible spaces

These interactive workshops will bring together like-minded people to hear from speakers, share their own successes and challenges, and create personal actions to take away.

Find more information on each workshop and register here: weblink

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