Dying Matters book wins gold award
Final Chapters: writings about the end of life' won the gold award in the Grief/Death and Dying category of the 2014 Living Now Book Awards, which recognise 'the year's best books for better living'.
The collection of 30 short stories and poems were chosen from 1,400 entries submitted to a competition we ran in 2012. Written by mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, wives, husbands and dying people, these moving pieces talk honestly about how it feels to care for someone who is dying, to grieve for a loved one, and to face death oneself. They include a candid story about a daughter's difficult relationship with her mother's carer; an internal monologue on dementia; and a deeply moving poem about losing a son to cot death.
Since its publication, Final Chapters has attracted widespread acclaim. Writing in the BMJ online journal, Dr Ayesha Ahmad said Final Chapters "symbolises a sombre acknowledgment of the tension encountered when cancer becomes the subject of our experiences. On a dual note, the book is also an opportunity for the bringing together of the suppressed moments of our society. We learn through the passages of the Final Chapters that even the last breath holds a story that transcends beyond the moment life surrendered."
Former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion said the writings "are much more than cries of grief. For all their sadness, they are also brave, resolute, clever, and sometimes even funny. This means the book has a kind of stoic nobility, as well as a warm humanity. It's a very powerful combination."
Alex James, founder of Bereavement.co.uk, said of the stories: “Some are uplifting and inspirational while others left me thinking why and wanting to run with my soap box to the nearest street corner and draw to public attention the true state of care for our elderly and lack of support for those facing dementia and terminal illness."
Final Chapters is the brainchild of Roger Kirkpatrick, a social campaigner with a distinguished publishing career who now works with Dying Matters on a range of projects. Royalties from the book go to the National Council for Palliative Care, which leads the Dying Matters Coalition.