Trust unveils Pledge tree for Dying Matters week
If you knew this was your last day of life what would you do? How would you like to be remembered? Do you know what your loved ones would want at their funeral? These were some of the questions staff at Airedale Hospital encouraged people to think about at a Death Café, organised to celebrate Dying Matters week and to broach the often difficult subject of death and dying.
None of us likes to think about getting ill and dying but not talking about it won’t make it go away. Having that big conversation can help make the most out of life now and support the people you care about.
Fiona Widdowson, End of Life Care Facilitator in the Palliative Care Team at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says:
“The idea of death café is for people to talk about death and dying in a safe environment that’s non-judgemental. I’ve had one person who wanted to talk about a friend who has just died, which in itself is very sad, but actually they want to talk about it because it was a brilliant celebration. They didn’t want a traditional funeral so the family took the ashes on to Pen-y-ghent and had a great time remembering that person. So it’s a way of people being able to share really positive experiences around death which then inspire other people to think how would they would like things to be done. So not just focusing on the fact that someone has died but actually saying ‘Let’s celebrate, let’s remember that person as they were, rather than a sick person in a bed.”
It’s important to start those difficult conversations as Fiona explains:
“You may have a relative who wants a more traditional funeral but then you could ask yourself do you know what they would like? Do you actually know what would be meaningful for them? It’s getting people to ask questions that they wouldn’t necessarily bring up at Sunday lunch, but which are in fact intimate to that family, their experience of being in a family, like Christmas or other celebrations.”
At the café the trust also unveiled a ‘Make one Change’ challenge tree – with the idea that people can think of something that they want to do that helps plan for an end of life event that may affect them, their family or their community, and follow that through.
There was also a marketplace with stands from Cruse bereavement care, Cancer Support, Sue Ryder, Carers Resource, Walker Foster solicitors and Brook Smith and Son funeral directors so people could find out more about planning for the end of life.
For more information on how to start conversations or advice go to www.dyingmatters.org