The Death Conference


I was incredibly honoured to be asked to speak at Wendy Coulton’s “Elephant in the Room” event at Plymouth Central Library on 27 & 28 March 2015.


The idea was that lots of people who work in the “death industry” will get together and talk to anyone who wants to listen.  The message is that death is part of life and we don’t talk about it.  The effect of this is that as an industry we can learn more and make this difficult and emotional time a bit easier for those that are left behind (hopefully).  And additionally as a social movement, we just need to be talking more about it.


So lots of organisations got together, including St Lukes, Plymouth Registry Service and Jeremiah’s Journey to name but a few to take part in the “Information Hub”, a drop in centre where members of the public could come to any one of the stands to get some advice.  There were also some talks from many different people, so that the general public or any of the professionals who were there could listen to the presenter about their work and ask questions.


The atmosphere was informal, there was tea and coffee available and at the beginning of most of the talks, as part of the housekeeping, the introducer discussed the possibility that anyone in the room could be recently bereaved or possibly not so recently and that if something that was discussed hit a nerve, they could just step out of the room and no-one would think any the worse of them.  It was a very supportive atmosphere where anyone could talk, even about things that were emotive to them.


So how did it all go?  Brilliantly!!!  The speakers were fantastic, they were varied, interesting and the audience asked lots of questions, which shows just how engaged with the subject matter they were.


The outcome of this, is that hopefully the conversation can commence, that death is a part of life and we need to talk about it.  One great thing to come out of this is that there are people who are thinking about how the bereaved respond to the death of a loved on and will change their practise having taken part in the discussion that will make things easier for the bereaved.


The message: Death is part of life and not only is it OK to talk about it, but we need to.  And great conference, looking forward to next year’s!!  Thank you Wendy.