Are you caring for a loved one who is dying, preparing for your own death or funeral, or seeking a meaning to death and your loss? Are you looking for answers, support or help? If so, Saturday 21st September 2013, at St. Bede’s Pastoral Centre, Blossom Street, York, YO24 1AQ from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., may be for you.
Only a little over one in three of us has made a will. Fewer than one third of us has registered as an organ donor or has a donor card. Despite concerns over the Liverpool Care Pathway and the Francis Enquiry into Stafford Hospital failings, only 5% of us have made plans for end-of-life care if unable to do so when the time comes. Similarly, 67% of us say we would prefer to die at home and only 7% say we would prefer to die in hospital; yet, more than 50% of us do indeed die in hospital.
Much of the fear around death centres on pain, loss of dignity, the manner of dying and facing the unknown: Will I be given enough pain relief? What will happen to me after I die? Where is mum, dad, now? What happened to them after they died? How will I cope alone? But so many of us, understandably, avoid looking further into these questions.
However, there is help, and things are improving, by way of:
GP training and fast-track initiatives in some areas (joined-up plans to get patients back home as soon as possible, to die at home with their loved ones).
funeral directors looking again at what they can offer, including transparency of costs and breadth of choice; (largely thanks to the Natural Death Centre re-examining funeral care and to public demand);
the introduction of the National Council for Palliative Care’s ‘Dying Matters’ coalition (which includes spiritual and emotional issues);
the latest NHS report asking for a cultural change in attitude towards care and blame;
and us – Transitus.
For the past ten years and more, members of Transitus have been working to bring together the practical and spiritual aspects of end-of-life care, funeral planning and ceremony, and bereavement, in a safe, well-informed and innovative way, for this life and beyond. This is no ‘weird’ or ‘morbid’ group. It comprises many dedicated professionals and volunteers involved in palliative care, sitting with the dying, planning and performing funerals and giving bereavement support; recognising that, though the body dies, something essential continues. Some call this ‘essential something’ the immortal soul; some, the continuity of consciousness. Labels do not count in Transitus, what does count is a heart full of love and a desire to help others to release fears and to see life and death as one journey. This they do sensitively, impartially and creatively so that you can decide what you need.
The Second Transitus Regional Festival, Safe Journey, is primarily for the people of York and the surrounding areas: a local resource of local people, for local people; with hopes to work alongside others in the caring professions and voluntary sector.
Please do come along on Saturday 21st September and learn about biodegradable coffins, including the local ‘Yorkshire woollen coffin’. Talk about funeral options, bereavement and possibilities for a life beyond this one. Make your ‘ending’ personal to you and therefore aid bereavement, knowing all has been done that could be done; all has been said that needed to be said.
We may not know what happens to us after our ‘death’, but we can be open to current research and to the experiences of others.
Our keynote speakers will be:
Charles Cowling author of “The Good Funeral Guide”
Martin Nathanael, Anglican priest and Interfaith minister, based in York
To find out more about the festival, please ring local organiser, Chris, on 01653 627 170
To find out more about Transitus itself, please ring me, Judith, on 01258 475 125
or see www.martinsey.org.uk and select Transitus. Thank you.
Transitus is part of the Martinsey Isle Trust, Registered Charity Number 1135600