Time just seems to fly. Sometimes I wonder if that is how I will feel when my own life comes to its inevitable end. I hope to look back on the people I have loved, the places I have been and all the beautiful moments that I have shared with the special people in my life. But will I think it’s all been too fleeting?
There are few things more powerful in the world than our memories and connections with each other – often with age, our memories fade but the feelings they leave us can most often stay a lifetime. In the last six months, we have been making some of those beautiful lifetime connections.
As many of you know I went traveling in 2019 after being awarded a Churchill Fellowship. Upon my return in November, I began writing the required report. Only, I wrote a small book instead and had to rework the highlights into a report. In the coming weeks that report or a version of it will be made available through the Churchill Trust.
In case you thought we’d gone quiet, here’s what we got up to in 2019 – we gave educational sessions to Whittle Ward, Calvery Pastoral Carers, Specialist Palliative Care South, Community Nurses, a lung transplant support group, spoke at the Gibson Ward Dying to Know Day, joined the Bereavement Care Network, had a stall at the Wellness Expo at PW1, hosted a table at the Shining A Light on Death event, attended the Palliative Care Tas conference, did a guest lecture spot about funerals at a Falmouth University group (UK), we met with groups in their homes and made our way to Bruny Island for an education session for their residents as well. On top of this, while overseas I attended the National Home Funeral Alliance conference and the Bath University Centre for Death and Society conference as well. There have been a few radio spots, I was interviewed for Choice Magazines investigations into death and funerals – https://www.choice.com.au/health-and-body/healthy-ageing/ageing-and-retirement/articles/funerals-investigation-the-future-of-funerals and we teamed up with a friend from Groundbreakers in the north of the state to lobby our Government for common sense in their changes to the Burial and Cremation Act – not to make natural burial so difficult to achieve for small groups.
My submission to the Department of Premier and Cabinet can be found here — http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/478581/Rebecca_Lyons.pdf
Sadly, while the Government amended the legislation to allow their own lease arrangements to continue, they would not be convinced to allow leasehold land for cemeteries despite good arguments by the Greens, Labour and the Independents in favour of this arrangement which happens overseas regularly.
So where to for 2020?
Here’s some things to keep in mind. We are very proud to present Maria Lazovic and her Living Funeral workshop. Information and tickets can be found here – https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=593102& . This is a first for Hobart and it will be a unique experience to delve into confronting your own mortality.
We will be at the 2020 Wellness expo on February 29, so make your way down to say hello to us and if you haven’t already, take the opportunity to spend some time in a coffin.
In March I will be addressing Hobart’s University of the Third Age which is a very exciting opportunity to make more inroads into community education.
There is discussions about an upcoming shroud-making workshop including a session on dressing the dead and we have a few other potential events in the making… and there’s going to be more writing to come as well.
In June Zenith Virago will be hosting DeathWalker training in Tasmania, more information can be found here – http://www.naturaldeathcarecentre.org/events/tasmania-deathwalker-training/
If you have any ideas, things you’d like to see or you have a group you’d like us to chat with – please don’t hesitate in letting us know.
I look forward to sharing the report with you and some of my many photos, soon.