A hospice charity has teamed up with local churches to try and tackle one of life’s taboos – talking about death.
Havens Hospices is working in partnership with Crowstone St George’s URC and St Saviours in Westcliff to host “Time for Talking About – Death, Dying, Your Life and Mine.”
It is an open discussion taking place on Thursday 14th January at The Life Lounge in Westcliff, 4.30-6.30pm. Talking in small groups, the topics will be based around the things that may matter in someone’s life.
To help stimulate the conversation, question cards originally produced by the Church of England will be used covering questions such as ‘What has been most important to you in life?’ and ‘How would you help a grieving friend?’
The free event will be run by representatives of the Care Team and Family Support Team at Havens Hospices, and members of the local churches. If people need additional support, they will be signposted to appropriate services.
Head of Patient Services at Havens Hospices Catherine Wood, who will be attending, says, “Talking about the end of our lives should be as natural as planning a holiday, but there is a lot of fear around it. Perhaps because of emotions that can be stirred or other issues it may raise.
“We feel this January session is especially prevalent, given that some families may have spent their Christmas without a loved one there and are struggling with the prospect of a New Year without them. If people are feeling lonely, we want ‘Time for Talking About’ to be a place where they can turn to.
“We want to provide a safe and welcoming space where people can discuss their feelings freely and without judgement. Because we at the hospice are experts at dealing with issues surrounding dying, illness and bereavement, we’ll be on hand to signpost people to our free Family Support services, or other local ones.”
Revd Melanie Smith, minister of Crowstone St George’s URC, says, “This is one of several initiatives that local churches are hoping will help our communities. It’s an opportunity for people to talk about the things that really matter, in an open and honest way, without feeling that they have to have any “right” answers.”
There will also be sessions taking place in March and May, the latter of which will be tied in with national awareness campaign ‘Dying Matters.’
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