Dying Matters. It really does.

It's #dyingmattersweek and I've been busy taking part in various events across my local area to start a conversation about death and dying.

I was invited to join the Dying Matters Dudley Group a couple of months ago. The team includes representatives from Mary Stevens Hospice, The CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group), Public Health, H.Porters Funeral Directors, A local celebrant (Shelley Jackson Woodall), My Farewell, Russells Hall Palliative Care Team, and various other contributors to end-of-life services in the local area. As a team, we worked together to create a week of events across Dudley. Most of the hard work had been done by the time I joined the team and they had created some wonderful event ideas. Death is such a difficult thing to talk openly about with people who fear it so much. Creativity during the week was vital. And the team did just that.

We had a Campervan travelling across the borough inviting people to join in the conversation about death and their wishes. We also had a board asking 'what I would like to do before I die'. The answers were very interesting! From 'losing my virginity', to 'skydiving' to 'making my parents proud'. There was also a camera crew asking members of the public what they thought on the subject. I joined the camper van crew on Monday where we visited Queens Cross Centre and had a wonderful afternoon with a group of very profound people filled with love, hope and very inspiring stories. We created 'Soul' Bags, drank tea and connected.

On Tuesday we held a 'Dying Natters' event at Porters in Stourbridge. We invited members of the public to join in the conversation around death over tea, free cake, crafting (decorating your own mini coffin!) and connecting with various end-of-life services.

There were also various Death Cafe's around the area, a talk about death and homelessness held at the Hospice, a theatre production by Joanne Tremarco and much more. In fact, I'm writing this blog after coming home from Joanne's show at The Civic Hall in Brierley Hill. Joanne creatively explored the journey of the soul which was profound. There were a few tears as death can bring up grief that may be stuck in the body. She helped some of us release it beautifully and unexpectedly.