Today we are going to talk about death, because, lets face it, as a culture we really need to. Despite it being an intrinsic part of being alive, something that will happen to everybody, we really don’t like to talk about it. Our medical system will do anything to prevent it happening, sometimes despite the very wishes of the patient themselves.
When did you last hear a friend tell you they’d been working on their will, or that they’d chosen a song they’d like played at the ceremonial commemoration of their life? How do we feel about our dying, about these close to us dying? Do we have a plan for a our death? It’s time we got these conversations going publicly and privately.
Death is in the air right now. With so much talk about death tolls, some saying the virus rates have been over-inflated, some saying they’ve been deliberately under-reported and the real count is much higher. Its hard to know who to believe. Either way, as a society we are still incredibly frightened of this part of life, understandably. By its very nature we can know nothing of what actually happens, but depending on your belief system, we can have a pretty good guess and that’s enough for most.
For myself, coming within a hair’s breath of dying at a young age re-framed my life as nothing less than a blessed gift, a second-chance at being here for which I am forever grateful. I think there is a lot of peace to be found in coming to terms with our dying and the deaths of others. It is the fundamental nature of life: all things will end. How can this truth teach us to live more fully while we are able?
I’ve noticed more conversation around death awareness in podcasts recently, with Russell Brand talking to Amanda Palmer and my previous guest Manda Scott going into the subject on a recent episode of her Accidental Gods project.
So here is a contribution to the cauldron from myself and my guest today, Sophia Campbell. Sophia is a basket maker and weaver of coffins. Her own encounters with death have come in a very personal way with the passing of her mother and sister and as you’ll hear, it was actually through her grieving process after her Mum died that she began working with baskets and weaving willow.
Thanks for listening. Breathe deep and go well,