I’m writing a funeral today and thinking about suicide, the funeral eulogy and breaking the silence.
Here’s an update on childhood bereavement support in Scotland.
5 out of every 100 children in the UK lose a parent by the time they reach 16. That’s around 4,600 children in Scotland who will experience a parent’s death every year.
For the last week, I’ve been reflecting on a question Professor Allan Kellehear raised about how long grief lasts. He posed this question during his keynote speech on Creating Compassionate Cities at the Everyday Compassion conference in Glasgow. He answered his own question. “Grief doesn’t last 6 weeks or 6 years. It lasts forever.”
I was thrilled to meet Kathryn Mannix in Glasgow at Aye Write book festival where she was talking in her gentle, wise voice about living with the end in mind. The audience hung on her every word as she shared the years of knowledge and experience she has built up as a palliative care specialist, […]
This week we’re inviting you to comment on a survey about hospices and franchise funeral services that our friends at the Good Funeral Guide have pulled together.
I had an email today from Trevor asking for help to plan for the end on Final Fling. It reminds me that sometimes it’s nice to be hand-held and guided through options in life. Trevor wrote…
This week, I’m reaching out for Death Cafe feedback from anyone who’s attended a Final Fling Death Cafe.
If you’d like to write a tribute after a death but don’t feel able, here’s how to do it – inspired by a participant in our recent Absent Friends Supper. Writing a tribute is a lovely way of remembering someone who mattered. It lets us get to the essence them by recalling some of their […]
This Thursday, 9 November, I’m hosting an Absent Friends Supper at Kinning Park Complex. It’s free to attend and starts at 6pm.
To Absent Friends is an annual Scotland-wide festival promoted by our friends at Good Life Good Death Good Grief.
The big news today is that Barbara Chalmers, Founder of Final Fling now has a Masters – with distinction – in funerals.
“Well, in reality, it’s an MDes – a Masters in Design Innovation, Service Design – and my final project was on funerals, so I consider it a Masters in funerals,” said Barbara. “I just found out on Friday at our degree show that I achieved a Masters – with distinction – in funerals (as I call it) and I couldn’t be more delighted.”
I’ve just recently come across the great thing that is the This is Me dementia care document and thought I should share it. This came up when I had the privilege of speaking in Cardiff at the Byw Nawr (Live Now) event last week for Dying Matters Awareness Week 2017. We were playing Fling-O-Bingo and I […]
Perfectly timed to keep up the momentum of Dying Matters Awareness Week, is next week’s A Time To Live: a documentary about dying. It airs on BBC2 on Wednesday at 9pm. “I met with documentary maker, Sue Bourne in March last year,” says Barbara Chalmers of Final Fling. “On the back of making the very successful film The Age Of Loneliness, the BBC asked Sue what she wanted to do next. She wondered what it would be like to live in the light of a terminal diagnosis and was looking for help to reach out for participants. I was glad to help and reach out to members of the Final Fling community – people who are engaged with the process of living and dying.
This week we’re grateful to Jennifer Levenson for sharing At the End – her way of saying goodbye to a parent. She wrote this poem for her dad’s funeral in 2008 and has been glad to let others use and adapt them since then. She offers this poem to you, if it’s helpful.
Have you ever noticed Final Fling’s logo has a full stop in it? The big full stop – my view of afterlife. You see I believe we die and we’re done, gone. I was with my dad when he died. His ‘passing’ was electric: it felt like 5,000 volts leapt from him to me and […]
This week, we look at the challenge of facing death and letting go, thanks to Evelyn Temple who shares her thoughtful, poignant story of her dad’s end of life wish – Just Let Me Go. Evelyn shares: February 25 2017 marked ten years since my Dad died. My Dad – strong, humble, constant, hardworking. He was my rock […]
We’re delighted to have Usha Grieve from Compassion in Dying blog for us this week, launching their new campaign, Make It You Decision:
Just over a month into the New Year, countless resolutions will already have been made – and broken. Many will have set out their goals for 2017 and beyond: to take control of their health, improve their fitness, learn a new skill, or pursue their dream job. We all have a vision for the future and how we’d like our lives to play out.
Final Fling’s Founder, Barbara Chalmers, is exploring Spirituality and Belief as part of a Masters in Design Innovation at the esteemed Glasgow School of Art:
I imagine that spirituality and belief comes into sharp focus for many of us when we are facing mortality… in our daily reflections, at times of heightened awareness, when we’re coping with death, dying and loss. Spirituality might feel like a need or gap. It might feel like a support or crutch. Belief might help make sense at a confusing or troubling time.
I had the bittersweet experience of a funeral for a friend this week. A fine celebration of a life lived well and welcome words expressing not her bravery fighting her cancer but her anger at having to leave before she wanted and her frustration at not having completed her mission to make the world a better place (though for sure, she made a big dent in that one).
This week, Final Flinger, Sue Friston shares her experience of what it’s like to care for an elderly parent. Sue shares honestly and openly: Mum’s need for supervision and assistance in dressing and washing has noticeably increased in the past few weeks. Slower. More frail. I notice how easy it is to wish this over.
This week, Professor Scott Murray talks about his belief that early palliative care helps people live with – not die from – a serious illness. A recent medical scare of his own means Scott has been able to bring a very different, personal lens to his thinking about his professional area of expertise.