Gloucester pop-up death café: Fear of dying, how you live is how you die, and the need for clear language by doctors

Gloucester Docks
Gloucester Docks

The tenth pop-up death café on Mystic Moon took place in sight of two magnificent tall ships currently being refurbished in Gloucester docks.

Similar to all the previous pop-up death cafes, we spoke about a  variety of topics. So this is an overview of what we talked about.

Our café started with one of the group confessing, in spite of being an ex-nurse and having been present at several friends and relatives’ deaths, how fearful she was of her own death. ‘I was conscious that I was making myself think of anything else but my death as I drove here. I feel very frightened even admitting to myself that it’s going to happen to me one day.’

‘I feel the same,’ said another participant. ‘I can’t imagine not being here. But even more scary is the thought that no-one might want to come to my funeral.’

Continue reading “Gloucester pop-up death café: Fear of dying, how you live is how you die, and the need for clear language by doctors”

Pop-up death cafes on Mystic Moon, my narrowboat

I am thrilled to be setting off on my narrrowboat Mystic Moon this April to offer pop-up death cafes along the river and canal IMG_0176systems throughout the spring and summer months.

I am passionate about helping people to talk more honestly and openly about IMG_2221end of life issues, and equally passionate about the UK’s inland waterways.

So, it’s a perfect combination.

I am also 62, fit and healthy, but I realise unless I do it now, the opportunity to fulfill this long-time dream will disappear.

I have no idea what lies in store. But it’s fun (and a trifle scary) to have this golden opportunity to throw myself open to whatever may happen. So, I will be blogging about my adventures, and also about the pop-up death cafes.

20150125_120818Mystic Moon is a beautiful 50 foot 1995 vintage Braidbar narrrowboat, lovingly cared for by her previous owner. He reluctantly sold her to me as he had recently remarried and needed more space for joint children and grandchildren. I am so grateful to him for his kindness and generosity during the sale, and delighted that he was so pleased to learn about the pop-up death cafes.

I will be starting from Bradford on Avon (where Mystic Moon is currently moored), offering the first pop-up café on the Bradford on Avon wharf below the lock, on Thursday 9th April, between 2.30 – 4.20. (Please email me to book a place) This pop-up café will be co-hosted by Liz Rothschild, funeral celebrant, green burial manager, and director of Oxford’s Kicking the Bucket Festival.

I will be in London during May, and moving up to the Grand Union via the beautiful Oxford Canal during June, so give me a wave if you see me trundling along on Mystic Moon.

If you would like to book a place for a pop-up death café, do email me for locations and dates. Please note that Death Cafes are not recom20150125_120831mended for those who have been recently bereaved. Please also be aware that coming aboard will be entirely at your own risk, and access for those who are disabled is very limited.

For more information about the cafes, please go to the Death Café website.

Depending on the location of Mystic Moon and safe access, you can book Mystic Moon for a pop-up Death Café near you, or I am happy to run them on shore. Just get in touch.

At last, choice is on the way for those not wanting resuscitation

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 receive life-saving treatment, or be allowed to die without further medical intervention.

According to the article, 8.8 million people currently have electronic records, but all of us registered as NHS patients in England will now be offered the opportunity to sign up for this facility.

This means that we can state our end-of-life wishes, and, as long as everything is in order, we will not be resuscitated if that’s what we want.


Continue reading “At last, choice is on the way for those not wanting resuscitation”

Cause of Death: reaching the end of life

I have now had a chance to reflect on my concern over Liz Kershaw’s Sunday Times article (20th Feb), Cause of Death: the NHS (only accessible to those who to subscribe to the Times On-line).

It is about her experience of how NHS medical staff treated her 87-year-old dying grandfather.

She starts the piece by saying, ‘Tell you what: why don’t we just put a pillow over his face and finish him off?  Day after day’, Liz continues, ‘I witnessed the deliberate withholding of nutrition that resulted in his ‘accelerated, yet agonising and undignified death.’

I too, have witnessed the death of an elderly person in an NHS hospital.  He was my 87-year-old bull of a father who was struck down just over two years ago by a massive stroke.  But, I had a completely different experience from Liz Kershaw, as I have also discussed in my book, The D-Word: Talking about Dying.

Continue reading “Cause of Death: reaching the end of life”

Pace-maker fitted for 97 year-old woman. Has the world gone completely mad?

I appreciate that care for the elderly by the NHS has become a contentious issue, but has the world gone completely mad?

My friend Diana popped in for a cuppa, and proceeded to tell me how her 97-year-old godmother has just had a pacemaker fitted. Since her godmother had expressly told her that she’d had enough of life, and wanted to die, Diana was understandably horrified.

Continue reading “Pace-maker fitted for 97 year-old woman. Has the world gone completely mad?”

A lesson well learnt about the importance of living wills

Living in the same location as two octogenarian couples is a salutary experience.  One couple, Brian and Enid, are fully engaged with the reality that time is running out.  The other couple, not.

Let’s start with Brian and Enid (all names have been changed).

Knowing that I had written a book on the dying experience, hand-in-hand Brian and Enid tapped on the door the other night and asked to talk to me about their decision to make a living will.

Continue reading “A lesson well learnt about the importance of living wills”

Website Powered by

Up ↑