Facing the Losses of Later Life

At an early day of recollection, several people said that they would welcome an opportunity to consider their own death and the death of people close to them.

comments from people attending our workshop Living Well Dying wellIn 2013, after research and consultation, GOG piloted a one-day workshop to create a safe and supportive space in which to look at the choices and decisions that people may face at the end of their lives, to reflect on how we deal with loss and to look at what our faith tradition offers us as support and food for the end of life. We brought together the expertise of a GP, a palliative care specialist, a bereavement worker and a priest and ran the workshop for a maximum of 20 people who choose to be there.

The GP and palliative care specialist provided information about the kinds of decisions that people may face about their care towards the end of life and about what they can do to prepare for them. Our bereavement worker helped us to look at how we have faced loss and to accept the different ways in which people may react. Our priest contributor helped us to reflect on how our faith supports us as we face our own death and the deaths of loved ones.

The ‘Living Well, Dying Well’ workshop series was run several times and provided a safe space for people to explore these sensitive issues. As well as ‘older people’, our workshops have also been attended by younger people who have been bereaved, and by people who give professional and/or pastoral care to those at the end of life and to those who have been bereaved. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

In 2020 we also partnered with Leeds Church Institute and Faith in Elderly People Leeds to run a series of 4 online events entitled ‘A Matter of Life and Death’, to enable conversations around death and dying.

The Art of Dying Well

As we approach death, there are a series of comforting rites and rituals that the Catholic Church offers to help a person spiritually prepare for the final journey.

These rites and special Prayers for the Dying are illustrated in the Art of Dying Well animation of the fictional story fo the Ferguson family featured in the following video link: http://www.artofdyingwell.org/

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.” Madeleine L’Engle

“It is up to us to combat the denial of old age and death, by working at growing old.” (Marie de Hennezel – from her book ‘The Warmth of the Heart Prevents your Body from Rusting’ )

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