Dying Matters Podcast
“Let’s talk about it.” Death and dying is one of those topics that’s just hard to talk about. We know that we will all have to face it one day, but we put that “difficult” conversation off until tomorrow. Or the day after… Well it doesn’t have to be that way.
The people we talk to on this podcast are people who do talk about it. They’re people who have learnt through personal experience how important it is to talk about our wishes before it’s too late, and they have a lot to say. Whether you’ve been bereaved, have a family member who’s approaching the end of life, want to support a friend, or just want to know how to start the conversation for yourself, this podcast is for you.
Featuring Barbara Altounyan: @HospiceBiog, www.thehospicebiographers.com
Megan Mooney: @MeganMooneyMSW. Find out more about death cafes at www.deathcafe.com
Why should we be talking about death and dying? For the first episode of our new series, we talk to two people who have decided to spend their time helping others to have those difficult conversations. Megan Mooney, who runs a death cafe, and Barbara Altounyan, the Hospice Biographer, tell us about their work and explain just why having these conversations is so important for all of us.
Featuring Ian Leech: @StGilesEngage. St Giles Hospice: @stgileshospice
This episode also features HUK staff reading their ‘Before I Die’ wishes.
What do you want to do before you die? Maybe you have a bucket list you're working through, or a set of goals you want to achieve before the end. But would those goals be the same if you found out you only had a few weeks left to live? What would really matter to you?
Ian Leech, our guest this week, never expected to have to discuss that question. But when his daughter, Mel, received a terminal diagnosis, he found that he had to. In this episode, we talk to Ian about how the conversations he had with Mel helped their family prepare for what was coming, and how it inspired him to help other people have those conversations for themselves.
This week, we talk to two people who are using music to help people at the end of life. Andy Lowndes is the founder of Playlist for Life, an organisation that uses music to help improve the care for people with dementia, and helps them stay connected with their families and precious memories. We also talk to Ben Slack, founder of the Swansong Project, who writes songs for hospice patients about their lives. We're even able to share one of them with you - make sure you listen until the end!
Have you ever pictured what your own funeral will look like? The stock image we're given in films and popular culture has all the mourners dressed in black, facing a coffin at the head of a church or standing around it in a graveyard. But funerals are becoming increasingly diverse, as people move away from the traditional models towards something that is much more bespoke and personalised.
Jane Harris, one of our guests this week, realised that none of the options presented to her for her son Josh's funeral felt right for her and her family. Instead, they decided to do it themselves. Jane talks us through that process, and how her and her husband, Jimmy, were able to turn such a tragic occasion into something positive and meaningful with the film they made about the day. Today, Jane and Jimmy continue to explore grief and bereavement through filmmaking with the Good Grief Project.
We also hear from Hasina Zaman, Director of Compassionate Funerals. Hasina set up her funeral business because she wanted her diverse London community to be able to access completely bespoke services that were appropriate for their personal preferences, religions, and cultures.
The message Jane and Hasina have is clear: when it comes to organising a funeral, you can do it your way.
Episode 5 - Bereavement
Dealing with the death of someone you love is one of the hardest things each of us will ever have to do. Grief can affect us in strange and frightening ways, some so strange and frightening that it's incredibly difficult to talk about them, and if you can't talk about them, then it can feel impossible to find the help you need.
Linda Magistris, our guest on this episode, wants to make it as easy for you to find help as possible. After the sudden death of her partner, Graham, Linda found it very difficult to get up to date information about what services and support was available to her. She didn't want anyone else to have to wait to find help, so she founded the Good Grief Trust - a charity that links up all the UK's bereavement support services under one umbrella.