Well, here we are at the start of 2012. Normally I wouldn’t hesitate in wishing everyone a Happy New Year. But somehow I can’t bring myself to use the word ‘happy’. Not when we are confronted by such global uncertainty. Yet on a twelve miles walk yesterday across magnificent Cotswold countryside it was easy to … More 2012: a time to accept our mortality
I was very heartened to read yesterday’s Daily Telegraph’s piece, Emergency staff to be told if you want to live or die. Backed by health minister Simon Burns, the Government is now keen for electronic records to be shared by paramedics and out-of-hours GPs, which will give seriously ill people the choice of whether they wish to … More At last, choice is on the way for those not wanting resuscitation
Last weekend I spent a delightful twenty-four hours with a group of Christian parapsychologists. Yes, those belonging to the Churches’ Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies are more than open to the weird and wonderful, and even the downright scary and unexplainable. Thank goodness for that, because every few years they hold a conference to … More Deathbed visions and the paranormal
Taking part in a discussion with eldercare campaigner Marion Shoard on Woman’s Hour yesterday was one of the scarier moments of my life. Almost as bad as flying in an aeroplane (which for me tips over into miserable experience). But I had the same heart rate going through the roof. Same wanting to throw up. Same throat muscles … More Talking on Woman’s Hour: Facing the Fear and Doing it Anyway
It was with some trepidation that I sat down to watch Terry Pratchett’s BBC 2 documentary (if you can call it that) ‘Choosing to Die’ last night on catch-up. Trepidation, because the deaths I have witnessed as a nurse, and sitting with both my mother and father as they died, are not about the ‘gentle … More Terry Pratchett’s courageous odyssey into assisted suicide
A recent survey commissioned by the Dying Matters Coalition (set up by the National Council of Palliative Care to promote betters ways to talk about end of life issues) says that ‘death is still a taboo subject for Brits.’ Shockingly, it found that only 16% of us told relatives or next-of-kin where we would like to die, … More Why are we Brits so poor at talking about dying?
I loved the royal wedding last Friday. A truly magical occasion, and – rare these days, sadly – I felt proud to be British. Egged on by my friend Meg, resplendent in a mother-of-the-groom frock she wore to her own son’s nuptials a few years back, I was very happy to enter into the spirit of the … More The Royal Wedding and the death of bin Laden. What’s next?
Woman Commits Suicide to Avoid Old Age, was a front page Sunday Times headline. Immediately I imagined some poor, pathetic, lonely old soul, without friends or family, reaching the end of her tether, and killing herself in a horrible, grisly way. Reading the story I realised how sensationalist and misleading this headline was. Eighty-four year old Nan … More Nan Maitland, ending her life with courage and dignity
Wandering around an old Cotswold church during a delightful Sunday excursion on our tandem bicycle a Christian Aid poster of a destitute Kenyan woman from a Nairobi slum caught my eye. The wording said, ‘I pray for change. I believe in change. I believe in having the heart of a fighter. I believe fighters expect … More Fighting for change, and a dose of reality
It’s Professor Brian Cox who dunnit for me, in the sitting room, with his BBC series, The Wonders of the Universe. His extraordinary programmes have fundamentally changed my understanding of God. Although I have never been a practicing Christian, I have always had a profound belief in God as an external force. By this I … More Professor Brian Cox, God, and the Universe