good life, good death, good grief

Truacanta

Truacanta: Glasgow

Stephanie Hutchinson from Caledonia Cremation, Fiona Wylie from Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice and Ruth Forsythe from Finn’s Place have teamed up to work on a joint application to be a part of The Truacanta Project. Stephanie tells us more about how they are working together to build their vision.

Thanks to Caroline’s ‘big picture’ approach, two seemingly disparate Expressions of Interests have now joined forces under the Truacanta umbrella.

Initially I (Stephanie from Caledonia Cremation) had teamed up with Fiona Wylie from the Princes and Princess of Wales Hospice to submit our interest in exploring the cultural diversity within dying traditions, and finding ways of sharing those stories. For her book From Here to Eternity, Caitlin Doughty travelled the world to find the good death. We are content to travel the streets of Glasgow! Within our city there exists a remarkable cultural and ethnic diversity and it stands to reason that there is then a diversity in approaches to death and dying and rituals around grief and remembrance.

Our aim was to offer people a chance to share their dying traditions, a space to be heard and understood and perhaps then

to create a resource (be it a published book or booklet, website, short film, community event, exhibition of photos and items, or all of these mediums!) that would be useful to all the support organisations and services in the community eg: GPs, community link practitioners, social care workers, hospice teams, and help to inform their approach when working with members of different cultures.

Then Caroline connected us with Ruth Forsythe at Finn’s Place who, having held a very successful bereavement workshop, was keen to explore the ways in which the charity could expand its work in that area. Her thought was that the Capacitar sessions offered at Finn’s Place might be a way to do that. Capacitar is a Spanish word which means ‘to empower, to encourage, to build each other up’ and the sessions involve a blend of mind-body-spirit practices to support well-being and manage stress.

Having met and shared our respective ideas and aims, it’s been great to see the ways in which our ideas can complement each other. We are now in consultation with various organisations and communities to hold some exploratory events that involve inviting people of different cultural backgrounds to share their own cultural traditions around the process and event of death, and alongside offering the opportunity to share in some wellbeing practices that would then assist in processing emotions that may arise. We then plan to explore with participants how best we could capture their stories, ideally including them in the process of production.

Our hope is that this will lead to a broader understanding for all involved, of the approach to death and dying amongst the unique cultures and ethnic groups within Glasgow, which will in turn expand the capacity for compassion and connection. We also hope that by encouraging more open discussion around this, people have a better chance of learning about what practical support is available to them, for example, from their local hospice or community groups like Finn’s Place.

If you'd like to find out more or get involved, you can contact Stephanie on stephanie.hutchinson@caledoniacremation.org.uk

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