Share Your Story
Hearing about others' experiences can be helpful when dealing with death and bereavement. Do you have a personal experience that you'd feel comfortable sharing with the campaign? If so, let us know...
I lost my father to Parkinson's and dementia and my mother to a rare kidney disorder. Having looked after them for the last year of their lives, I saw first hand the benefit of preparing for and talking about death.
We lived on a farm and outside in the yard there was a pile of Dutch elm brought down by a storm in the '80s. Dad had always said he wanted his coffin made from it. I used to think he was joking and it was just a bit of fun but when the time came and we were devastated by our loss I found I had something to do, something worthwhile that I knew dad wanted. The planing and sanding of the wood and the process of making the coffin was very therapeutic. It grounded me in what was going on and gave me a purpose.
When dad retired he bought himself a dictaphone and set about recording stories about his life, what he knew of the family and cataloging the antiques handed down to him from his parents. The Parkinson's meant pressing buttons was difficult and the bulk of the stories ended up being of the inside of his pocket or the dog barking. As time went on, the desire to pass on what he knew to his children grew but the effects of his illness did too.
I used to be a builder. Losing mum and dad made me take stock and after a while I decided to change my life and do something else, something I was more passionate about, and that was helping other families going through similar situations to my family. I founded www.kindeo.com, an easy-to-use service designed to capture a life story. Something everyone should do for their family. A way to record and save the really important things from life - wisdom, knowledge and life experience. Kindeo is there so we can ask our parents and grandparents to record their stories and never forget the amazing lives they've led. One day we can have that record to show our children and them theirs.
The loss of my parents was the hardest thing I've been through. It's with me every day. Something changed, though, along the way and I think it's that after a little blip it had made me more responsible. I started a family of my own and have a one-year-old daughter. I can look forward again. Life is full of moments that change you, the loss of a loved one will do that, but it can be a time for understanding yourself a bit better and reflecting on your own life.
In memory of my parents
The Dying Matters Coalition is led by the National Council for Palliative Care,
the umbrella charity for end of life care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Freephone 08000 21 44 66