The elephant had well and truly left the room when the first event of its kind about dying matters was held in Plymouth to challenge the taboo which comes with the D word.
A positive unexpected outcome came from bringing together likeminded people under one roof which has now planted the seed for a professional forum whereby we will meet again, perhaps quarterly, in a social setting to find out what eachother is doing and identify how we can mutually support our efforts to improve the experience for the bereaved.
When I read the feedback cards afterwards I got tearful though that may have just been from exhaustion and relief! There genuinely was overwhelming support for the purpose of the event and calls for similar opportunities to be repeated.
The Lord Mayor of Plymouth and Lady Mayoress attended the launch with a keynote talk by George Lillie, South West representative of The Dying Matters Coalition. All the talks were well presented, thought provoking and informative. The free advice hub was visited by people who were just curious and others with specific questions.
We had no idea what response we would get because dying matters are not a topic people are comfortable with and tend to avoid but the elephant had well and truly left the room by the end of our event. There was respectful open discussion about a wide range of topics including organ donation, legal and money matters, hospicecare, green funerals and carer experience of death. It was a fantastic team effort.
The large red papier mache elephant centrepiece in the advice hub has been garaged…until his services are required sometime next year!
Pictured: The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Plymouth, with event organiser Wendy Coulton and George Lillie, SW representative of The Dying Matters Coalition.