good life, good death, good grief

Truacanta

Truacanta Perthshire Grows Wings

Emma Oram from Truacanta Perthshire updates us on their compassionate community activity

When we held our ‘To Absent Friends’ event in November last year, it was lovely to sit together, meet new people and enjoy a collective cuppa. There was a warmth in the room, through shared stories and comforting conversations.

We could never have imagined how this would change. Over the past few months since Covid-19 appeared, we have seen and experienced so much loss, through self-isolation and cutting off physical contact with family, friends and colleagues to keep us all safe. We’ve also seen daily messages on the media of death and dying like never before. We became acutely aware of care, and how to care for each other at a time where we might become unwitting vectors of a killer virus. Our care workforce has faced the intense grief of watching people they care for die alone, and the devastation of families who were kept apart and unable to care for their loved ones or remember them with gathered friends and the closeness of a hug.

Perhaps we are still to discover all this loss and grief is going to mean for us. There is so much we don’t know. We have seen how communities have helped others, for example through collecting shopping and prescriptions for neighbours. Compassion in communities has flourished, but due to Covid-19 we are keeping within tighter circles, so we may not see or hear all of what is happening out there.

Although social distancing has prevented the Truacanta project in Perthshire from meeting as we have been drawn into

different work streams, we think that now more than ever is the time to hear stories from the community of what life has been like, gathering lived experiences around Covid-19, and what it means to people, especially those who have experienced isolation, loss of relationships, who may be grieving for the way things were.

We looked at the concept of ‘Bumping Spaces’ in communities where people naturally meet (for those ‘corner shop conversations’) to create a place where people can safely go to record their stories, photographs or messages of what life has been like living through Covid-19 in front of a pair of ‘selfie wings’. The wings are being designed by some PKAVS

young carers (the designs on the right are by young carer Sammi), and will be installed by the end of this month in the North Inch Park in the centre of Perth, which is an open space to allow for social distancing. The ‘selfie wings’ will also form part of the Recovery Week being hosted by the Perth & Kinross drug and alcohol team – we felt the wings represented renewal and recovery really nicely.

We will ask for people to share their hopes for the future, and we know that perhaps this might be painful. Stories resonate with all of us, and amplify our own feelings of loss and grief, but we need to listen before we can learn.

Get involved: email- EOram@pkc.gov.uk twitter- @truacanta

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