Posted: July 23, 2019
Over the last few months, as the book has been selling around the world, I have had some fantastic conversations with people making podcasts. Here’s a round-up.
It was great fun to meet Tim Lovejoy and discuss tea, death and stories. It was an honour to hear about Tim’s own experience of the death of his brother a few years ago. He agrees: we really need to talk about this stuff.
The video starts after a section of dodgy sound at the beginning of our conversation, but we were so busy laughing that you won’t miss anything: the sound was restored by Tim’s very efficient Tech Desk (also laughing) by the time we began the interview.
Funny, how much we laugh whilst discussing matters so deep. It’s partly a human emotional defence mechanism, and it’s partly relief that we can say those D-words at last.
Shapes of Grief
Liz Gleeson is a bereavement therapist based in Eire and her website, Shapes of Grief, includes guest blog writers, useful bereavement links and her podcast. Liz also offers training to professionals, and there are links in her website.
Liz and I ‘met’ down a Skype line while I was working in London, so picture the scene: I’m in a small hotel room, headphones on and laptop humming. One of the great things about most UK hotels is the tea-making facilities in each room so yes, I am sipping a cuppa.
Dead Good Staffs
is a podcast dedicated to public information about death and dying. Now in its second series, Charlotte Foster chats to a variety of experts about funerals, estate planning and wills, palliative care and – well, dying. We chatted for a while, and Charlotte made the amazing discovery that her Nan’s death had been far less difficult than younger Charlotte had assumed: a real example of the way knowing more helps us to understand and be less afraid.
Dead Good Staffs distilled our chat into three chunks. Here they are:
Episode Three (includes Charlotte’s reflection on her new knowledge, and reviewing her understanding of watching her Nan die many years ago)
This is the UK’s over-arching campaigning body for hospice and palliative care. They host the multi-agency Dying Matters campaign, and for Dying Matters Awareness Week in May 2019 I popped into their London office to talk to Eleanor McConnell.
Although it was high spring, the weather was remarkable and our chat took place during a frenetic thunderstorm: see whether you can hear the rumbles or the heavy rain on the roof!
There are more too add: I’ll pace myself and add more soon. Happy listening.
Posted: January 31, 2019
Countdown to paperback release!
The UK paperback of With the End in Mind will be published on 7th February 2019.
I am delighted to reveal the paperback cover: the cup of tea is such an important part of those tender conversations about death, dying and preparation.
I’ve lost count of the number of cups of tea I have shared with patients and families over 30 years in palliative care. This tiny ritual converts a consultation into a conversation. We can be frank. We can shed tears. We can be human. We can mourn lost hopes; we can begin to plan new ones.
I hope that the paperback will prove as popular and as helpful as its hardback Big Sister, and be more accessible at a lighter weight and a lower price.
The ebook is for sale here, and you can listen to an excerpt and read some of the stories on the web-page without purchasing.
Keep spreading the word!
Posted: December 13, 2018
Hospice UK Plenary Address
I was delighted to be invited to speak at Hospice UK’s 2018 Annual Conference in Telford. Around 800 delegates attended, from palliative care services based in hospices, hospitals and community settings. The varied programme considered the needs of patients, family/carers and professionals. We heard about research, theory, practical action, service planning, politics and inclusivity; we met old colleagues and made new friends. There were workshops, lectures, posters, stalls, information and a cartoonist! Lots to think about.
I gave the end of conference address: Death Stories. It was live-streamed and posted on Facebook, and can be viewed here. Spoiler: it mentions death, dying and the human condition. And the Little Mermaid.
Posted: May 2, 2018
Wellcome Book Prize shortlisted authors’ weekend
Five of the six shortlisted authors for the Wellcome Book Prize gathered in London for a festival of writing related to medicine, health and the human condition. The imminent birth of Mark O’Connell’s next baby prevented him from joining us, but the women of the shortlist enjoyed an ‘Authors in Conversation’ session at The Wellcome Collection on Saturday 28th April: Bookish Beck has written a summary for her blog here.
On Sunday 29th April, we were all together again for a ‘5×15’ event, this time at Cecil Sharp House. Each author spoke for 15 minutes on the inspiration behind her book. You can click on each author’s presentation here and on Mark O’Connell’s (made at an earlier event) here.
Here’s me, talking about why we need to get real about dying, a 500 year-old tree and a coffin shop in the Andes.
Then there was a Prosecco and canapes event to announce the winning book on Monday, 30th April: congratulations to Mark O’Connell, whose ‘To be a Machine’ won the prize.