Okay, those that know me well often say I’m a bit of a weirdo being obsessed with death – having graveyards as a bit of a hobby, being involved with Dying Matters, and working in Palliative Care, so to those people what Ken and I got up to last Sunday is going to be up there amongst the odd things I’ve done.
During October they held a festival in and around Oxford called the Kicking the Bucket festival – a celebration of life and death. I booked Ken and me onto a craft workshop called making memories, not knowing quite what to expect. We were told we could bring photos, poetry, or anything else we may want to use in our craft. The session was facilitated by an art therapist, going for two hours, and there were only 4 other participants so it was a really safe environment . I wasn’t sure if Ken was just attending to humour me, but once we got there he threw himself into the experience being the first to introduce himself and talk about the death of both his parents.
We both used pictures, Ken one of his parents that we love, and I used two of Dad that were taken in the weeks before he died, including a picture of him trying an oyster for the first time in his life – better late than never!!
On the way home we got totally lost due to an accident at a major intersection causing us to be diverted through the countryside not knowing where we were heading – ended up at pub called the Pickled Ploughman in the middle of nowhere to have tea (I’m not sure if we could find it again if we tried). My favourite thing about it, apart from the fabulous meal, was the milk jug they brought out with my coffee which was a cow (I know, small things amuse me).
The following Thursday – Nov 1st which is the Day of the Dead (festival held in Mexico – look it up as very interesting) I spoke at the National Celebrating the Day of the Dead event in London about what we did at work for Dying Matters week earlier in the year. Needless to say I was extremely nervous but really proud of myself for doing it. The whole event was so motivating and interesting, and the organisation was great – we had skull shaped biscuits on the tables, table centres designed by one of the local schools, margaritas and Mexican food after the event along with a wandering musician.
So basically the last week has been full of really different experiences but really great ones. I promise not to mention death for a while, but I must be due to visit an old graveyard and take pictures of fascinating gravestones.
Hope all well with you and yours. Keep safe, and keep smiling.
Pamela & Ken