The idea for something to help people think about their own death and the death of someone close to them came from feedback from people at Days of Recollection.
In 2013, after research and consultation GOG piloted a one day workshop to create a safe and supportive space in which to look at the choices and decisions that people may face at the end of their lives, to reflect on how we deal with loss and to look at what our faith tradition offers us as support and food for the end of life. We brought together the expertise of a GP, a palliative care specialist, a bereavement worker and a priest and run the workshop for a maximum of 20 people who choose to be there.
The GP and palliative care specialist provided information about the kinds of decisions which people may face about their care towards the end of life and about what they can do to prepare for them. Our bereavement worker helped us to look at how we have faced loss and to accept the different ways in which people may react. Our priest contributor helped us reflect on how our faith supports us as we face our own death and the deaths of loved ones.
As well as ‘older people’, our workshops have also been attended by younger people who have been bereaved, and by people who give professional and/or pastoral care to those at the end of life and to those who have been bereaved. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
The Art of Dying Well
These rites and special Prayers for the Dying are illustrated in the Art of Dying Well animation of the fictional story fo the Ferguson family featured in http://www.artofdyingwell.org/
“It is up to us to combat the denial of old age and death, by working at growing old.” (Marie de Hennezel – from her book ‘The Warmth of the Heart Prevents your Body from Rusting’ )