Every year in May, Dying Matters promote a fantastic range of events and activities around the country. The aim is to get people talking about dying, death and bereavement and making plans for their end of life; known as Dying Matters Awareness Week.
So, when Debs Wilkes a palliative care nurse from MacMillan nurses approached me to participate in an event they were organising; I jumped at the chance.
The event was "A dead good week in the library", and gave me a chance to break two taboos at once. I was singing about death in Southampton Central Library!
Library users were initially somewhat confused when the silence was broken, but all came out to see where the 'CD' was playing. The surprise on people's faces was evident when they realised this was not a recording but a live singer. They enjoyed the serenade, duly applauding at the end.
Many readers/listeners stayed to ask about the reason behind the performance. So Debs had more people to chat to about Dying Matters Awareness Week thanks to my medley of:
- Do not stand at my grave and weep
- You raise me up
- Time to say goodbye
- Senza Catene (Unchained melody)
- Bring me sunshine
I too stayed on to the 'Grave Talk' session hosted by Erica Roberts, Southampton's Older Persons CofE Chaplain. It was a unique chance for a group of people who have never met before to drink tea, eat cake and chat about death, dying, grief and funerals etc. This was a rather cathartic experience for some and most felt it enabled them to be more comfortable talking about their own experiences.
At the end I was asked to finish off with a suitable number, one of our popular requests: Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Pie Jesu".
I had such a great afternoon and look forward to the next event, knowing that music does help people in many unexpected places and situations.