Posts filtered by tags: Death and dying[x]


I grew up in a crematorium – we learned not to look too alive in front of the mourners

It was a regular family home – just one in which I learned not to run around the garden when the funeral processions passed, and to jump over, never on, any bluish grey powder I might findWhen I was eight, roller skates were things you stepped into while wearing your outdoor shoes. They had laced, red leather toe-pieces that you pushed your shoes into, and red straps to buckle round your ankles. Two chunky black wheels sat either side of your toes, and two either side of your ankles. The metal b...
Tags: Books, Family, Children, Life and style, Society, Culture, Death and dying

The person who got me through 2021: Fleabag helped me survive my mother’s death

I rewatched Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s monstrous and lovable creation after my mother died in lockdown. The show gave me space to live and grieveFleabag isn’t really the person who got me through 2021. To confess the truth (and now the Hot Priest is saying “Kneel!” in your head, isn’t he?), she also got me through 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and half of 2016, when the show first aired. It’s been an intense few years. Which is precisely why only a show about a self-sabotaging, black-humoured, grief-strick...
Tags: Life and style, Society, Culture, Television & radio, Death and dying, Phoebe Waller Bridge, Fleabag

A moment that changed me: how a ‘death knock’ taught me about grief, respect and truth

It was my first day on a local paper when I went to visit a bereaved family with a seasoned reporter. It shaped all the values I took into my journalistic careerI was 19 when, in September 1987, I got a fortnight’s work experience on my local free newspaper, the Kingston Guardian, in south-west London. It was a small but dedicated team of reporters operating out of an office in Twickenham and they were incredibly generous, taking me under their collective wing and sending me out on all kinds of ...
Tags: London, Media, Life and style, Society, Newspapers & magazines, Death and dying, Twickenham, Kingston Guardian

A moment that changed me: ‘My mother taught me to face impossible tasks – and so I carried the coffin at her funeral’

From an early age, she encouraged me to be strong, physically and mentally. Those gifts helped me through the day we buried herMy mum was a PE teacher and coach. One of her early gifts was to help me feel like a physically capable female. For the couple of years before she died, my body had taken a battering, with illness and major surgery, then pregnancy and the aftermath, so I wasn’t feeling at all hale. Carrying a coffin is not something a woman necessarily plans to do – usually men perform t...
Tags: Family, India, US, Life and style, Society, Death and dying, Met Office, Bereavement, Lakeland

‘I imagine the children we might have had’: deciding what to do with my late husband’s frozen sperm

Three years after the death of her husband at 41, Kat Lister describes the posthumous conception dilemma she facesIt’s the hottest week of the year and I am sitting in a windowless room on the lower ground floor of London’s University College Hospital discussing the precise temperature of frozen sperm. At -196C, these glacial swimmers are biologically inert, I’m told, as I’m handed two props: a thin plastic straw that bends to the will of my fingertips and a cylindrical cup segmented by colourfu...
Tags: Health, Books, Family, London, Life and style, Society, Death and dying, Parents and parenting, Fertility problems, University College Hospital, Kat Lister

A moment that changed me: my mother died – and I became my brother’s legal guardian

I had told my mum that I would look after Declan after her death. But standing in an airport car park, the ramifications began to rush through my headIt was in Stansted airport’s Pink Elephant car park that I realised all the adults were going home. It was early January 2007 and we had just returned from Mum’s funeral in Derry. I watched as uncles and aunts ambled over to their cars, and there the three of us were left: me, 25, my girlfriend, Jade, 26, and my little brother, Declan, who had just...
Tags: Children, Life and style, Society, Death and dying, Social Care, Derry, Fostering, Stansted, Jade, Declan

‘They said I don’t exist. But I am here’: one woman’s battle to prove she isn’t dead

Five years ago, Jeanne Pouchain was declared dead by a French court. It was news to her – and just the beginning of a Kafkaesque nightmareThe trouble began in 2016. When Jeanne Pouchain’s passport application was declined, she was annoyed – but assumed she must have forgotten an important piece of paperwork.Several weeks later, at a doctor’s appointment in her town of Saint-Joseph, outside Lyon in south-east France, both Pouchain, then 53, and her GP were perplexed when his computer spat out her...
Tags: Europe, Family, Law, France, Life and style, Society, World news, Death and dying, Identity cards, Lyon, Saint Joseph, south east France, Jeanne Pouchain, Pouchain

How do I tell my brother his diet could be harmful?

You articulate it as worrying about his health, but I think it goes deeper than that, says Annalisa BarbieriI’m in my late 40s and have a brother who is a couple of years younger than me. He’s been happily married for almost 20 years and has a lovely daughter, who is in her early teens.Some years ago, he was treated for cancer (he has been in remission since), and I am happy he has managed to find his way in life. Our parents died two years ago, and we are all the family we have; we’ve had our d...
Tags: Family, Obesity, Life and style, Death and dying, Annalisa BarbieriI

Post-traumatic growth: the woman who learned to live a profoundly good life after loss

After the deaths of her son and husband, Rhian Mannings emerged slowly from grief to start a charity and find love again. What does her experience tell us about how suffering can change us?In February 2012, Rhian was a happy, busy wife, mother of three and a PE teacher in Cardiff. She and her husband, Paul, had met on a blind date in their early 20s. “I knew as soon as we met that I wanted to be with him for ever.” Paul was handsome, kind and “sports-mad”; he was Rhian’s rock, she says. By the e...
Tags: Health, Life and style, Society, Death and dying, Cardiff, Bereavement, Infant and child mortality, George, PAUL, Rhian, Rhian Mannings

A maddening grief: my year of miscarriages and how I got through it

Navigating an uncharted landscape, I found solace in an unlikely placeAfter my third consecutive miscarriage I began baking bread.This was 2019, a year and change before quarantine boredom ignited a sourdough craze that lit up everyone’s lockdown Instagram feeds with images of fresh and hot loaves. Continue reading...
Tags: Family, Instagram, Pregnancy, Life and style, Health & wellbeing, Death and dying, Parents and parenting, Baking

‘You love me? I can’t take that to the bank’: Johnny Vegas on money, fame and grief

Lockdown and the loss of both parents have transformed the entertainer. He talks about the disappointments of TV, outgrowing his comic persona – and his move into the glamping businessI remember the buzz around Johnny Vegas at the Edinburgh fringe in 1997. Everyone knew a star was being born – but a star of what, exactly? No one had ever seen anything quite like this overweight northerner, screaming and sobbing at his audience, raging at life’s injustices – then breaking off for another bout at ...
Tags: Comedy, Television, Life and style, Culture, Death and dying, Channel 4, Edinburgh, Glamping, Bereavement, Camping Holidays, Johnny Vegas, ITV Digital People

Phil Elverum's songs of loss gave me a language for that shapeshifter, grief

After my first boyfriend died, Elverum’s Microphones and Mount Eerie helped me make sense of a bleak worldI first encountered the music of Phil Elverum in August 2010, a month after the death of my first boyfriend. That summer I spent hours sitting numbly in the park with my headphones on, listening to Elverum describe a landscape without colour or movement: “no black or white, no change in the light, no night, no golden sun”. That dissonance between internal and external worlds made sense to me...
Tags: Music, Relationships, Life and style, Mental Health, Culture, Death and dying, Indie, Birmingham, Bereavement, Phil Elverum, Mount Eerie, Marc, Elverum

Prince Harry writes foreword to book for children who have lost parents to Covid

Duke writes about his mother’s death in book for bereaved children as part of National Day of ReflectionCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe Duke of Sussex has reflected on the pain of his mother’s death in a foreword to a book for children of health workers who have died in the coronavirus pandemic.Prince Harry wrote that the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 when he was 12 had left “a huge hole inside of me” but that it was eventually filled with “love and su...
Tags: Health, Books, Children, Wales, Life and style, Society, UK News, Culture, Death and dying, Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry, Harry, Bereavement, Duke, Diana Princess

My husband died a year ago. Here's what he taught us about life and love

A year after her husband Joe Hammond’s death from motor neurone disease, his widow reflects on grief, parenting through loss, and survivalHow do you decide upon a day to die? For my husband Joe and me, that meant finding out when the doctors we needed were available, then we took note of our two sons’ school holidays and, finally, we looked at the carer rota for that month. Who could we trust with Joe’s death as much as we had trusted them with his life?The next step was a meeting with the relev...
Tags: Family, Life and style, Society, Death and dying, Parents and parenting, Bereavement, Joe, Motor Neurone Disease, Joe Hammond

How did I mourn my mother? With Pet Shop Boys on the radio and plaster dust in my hair

There were no carols, no tree, no goose – but the Christmas I spent decorating my flat gave me the gift of peaceIt was on a plank suspended between stepladders over a three-storey stairwell that I finally knew for sure that I was a grownup. I was slimed with wallpaper paste, grizzled with plaster dust, and 28 years old. Pet Shop Boys belted out of the radio and for the first time in my life I was free to spend Christmas doing exactly what I wanted – which was to make a home of the perversely ver...
Tags: Family, Music, Christmas, Life and style, Culture, Death and dying, Bereavement, Pet Shop Boys

Losing my mum in lockdown was a brutal lesson in the abject loneliness of grief

With normal life suspended, I couldn’t be with her when she died. But so much of mourning happens in the ruins of your own headMy mum died on 3 June 2020, in the middle of the night. We were in national lockdown at the time. The first one. The one none of us will ever forget. So, when my mum took her last breaths in a Surrey hospice I have yet to visit, I was more than 400 miles away, at home in Edinburgh.I was lying wide awake in bed when my dad called to deliver the news we knew was coming. I ...
Tags: Health, Family, Life and style, Society, Mental Health, Death and dying, Edinburgh, Surrey

Soon after we moved to France, my husband died. Now I feel so lost | Dear Mariella

You are dealing with the awful paralysis of grief, says Mariella Frostrup. You need to learn to co-exist with it, not let it devour youThe dilemma I’m not sure my situation amounts so much to a dilemma as just fear and desperation, but here goes: my husband and soulmate of 31 years died suddenly and unexpectedly this year. We’d recently moved to France for an adventure and to spend more time together without the demands of work. Our two daughters are in the UK and their grief and mine is overwhe...
Tags: Family, UK, Marriage, France, Relationships, Life and style, Society, Death and dying, Mariella Frostrup, Mariella

Creative therapy and shared support can help with grief after losing a child

A retreat for grieving parents provides therapeutic benefits, writes a mother whose daughter was stillborn 22 years agoAfter my daughter Grace died when I was eight months pregnant, my first impulse was to write it all down: the birth, surrounded by candles; the coffin and funeral where there should have been a christening; how her death had been accompanied by snowdrops fighting their way through the frozen ground in the first stirring of spring. I felt I was the only one really to have known h...
Tags: Psychology, Family, Science, Life and style, Health & wellbeing, Death and dying, Parents and parenting, Grace

Hello, Harriet: how the pandemic has led me back to an old friend, and my young self | Kate Cole-Adams

In a world without coronavirus, there are conversations that might never have happened. Their nature, too, is differentThis is part of a series of essays by Australian writers responding to the challenges of 2020Early on the morning of my 59th birthday I carry a mug across the backyard and into the studio to wait for Harriet. We haven’t been in the same country in nearly a decade, but through the alignment of datelines and digital technology we create a nest of impossible time: me in Melbourne (...
Tags: Books, Marriage, Relationships, Friendship, Women, Life and style, UK News, Australia news, Death and dying, Young People, Devon, Melbourne, Zoom, Harriet, Jo, Devon England

The psychological toll of coronavirus in Britain – a visual guide

From anxiety to grief, our charts illustrate five areas of mental strain faced by people across the country Continue reading...
Tags: Health, Relationships, Life and style, Society, UK News, World news, Mental Health, Anxiety, Britain, Health & wellbeing, Death and dying, Loneliness, Coronavirus outbreak

The power of touch: I held my father's hand as he faded away. It was the purest exchange of love

Through months of illness, I held his sturdy, consistent and loving hands, knowing he would muster the strength until he truly could no longerWelcome to the Guardian’s Power of Touch seriesAt some point in the 1970s, the late, great Bill Withers did a live recording of his song Grandma’s Hands. In the recording, he speaks plainly to the audience, folksy and casual, and introduces the song by saying he was raised by “just a nice old lady who used some very nice old gnarled hands to make life kind...
Tags: Music, Life and style, Society, Death and dying, Bill Withers

‘My life is not over. But it feels like it is sometimes’: the Rev Richard Coles on losing his partner

The former pop star’s world was shattered when his partner of 12 years died. Three months on, he talks about the ‘madness’ of griefDeath is par for the course for the Rev Richard Coles. Whether it’s pastoral care for the bereaved, discussions about the afterlife with parishioners or being called out to perform the last rites – death comes with the job. But since his partner, the Rev David Coles, died in December, a lot about death has taken Coles by surprise.“I got in the other night,” he says, ...
Tags: Music, Celebrity, Relationships, Life and style, Culture, Pop and rock, Christianity, Death and dying, LGBT rights, Bereavement, Coles, Richard Coles, David Coles

What I have learned from my suicidal patients

A GP has minutes to try to convince a person that life is worth living. It’s a challenge that brings rare rewards. By Gavin FrancisEdinburgh’s old Royal Infirmary has been abandoned for more than a decade, its doors boarded up, its gutters overgrown with buddleia and fireweed. Through the scaffolding you can just about make out the way to the old ward 1 and its annexe, ward 1A, where urgent medical admissions were once wheeled on trolleys directly from A&E. It was unusual for a ward to have an a...
Tags: Life and style, Death and dying, Royal Infirmary, Gavin FrancisEdinburgh

I turned the dreaded anniversary of my dad's death into a celebration of his life

The date my father died was always weighted with sadness. But having my own family made me realise I could mark his memory each year by living life to the fullestWhen someone you loved died a long time ago, reminders arrive unannounced, unexpected, in ordinary life. An old song plays on the radio and you are jolted back to a long-forgotten time and place. Mention of a subject out of nowhere sparks a deep memory. This is why the anniversaries of deaths are solid things in our lives to hang on to....
Tags: Family, Life and style, Death and dying, Parents and parenting, Bereavement

What happens to our online identities when we die?

By 2100 there could be 4.9bn dead users on Facebook. So who controls our digital legacy after we have gone? As Black Mirror returns, we delve into the issueAndrew Scott Q&A: ‘I never get angrier than with passwords or apps’Esther Earl never meant to tweet after she died. On 25 August 2010, the 16-year-old internet vlogger died after a four-year battle with thyroid cancer. In her early teens, Esther had gained a loyal following online, where she posted about her love of Harry Potter, and her illn...
Tags: Facebook, Twitter, Family, Technology, Television, Money, Media, Privacy, Drama, Law, Internet, Massachusetts, Social Media, Life and style, Society, Blogging

I couldn't save my brother from Aids. But his death made me the man I am

There was no relief from grieving my brother – until I realised an important lessonWhen my older brother Jerry became ill with Aids in the 1980s, he was working as a psychologist in New York and I was living in a small cottage in Berkeley, California, with the man who is now my husband. I would phone Jerry every evening and fly in once a month to help him clean his apartment and stock up on food, as well as to discuss his treatments with his doctors and HIV researchers. On one occasion, while he...
Tags: Psychology, Family, Science, Life and style, Health & wellbeing, Death and dying

Death on demand: has euthanasia gone too far?

Countries around the world are making it easier to choose the time and manner of your death. But doctors in the world’s euthanasia capital are starting to worry about the consequencesBy Christopher de BellaigueLast year a Dutch doctor called Bert Keizer was summoned to the house of a man dying of lung cancer, in order to end his life. When Keizer and the nurse who was to assist him arrived, they found around 35 people gathered around the dying man’s bed. “They were drinking and guffawing and cry...
Tags: Europe, Law, Life and style, Society, World news, Netherlands, Amsterdam, Death and dying, Belgium, Assisted dying, Keizer, Christopher de BellaigueLast, Bert Keizer

Wife speaks after Body Worlds founder says: slice me up and put me on show

Terminally ill inventor of plastination, Gunther von Hagens, has asked for his body to be part of London exhibition when he diesThe wife of the German scientist who became known as “Dr Death” for his pioneering work on the preservation of corpses has spoken of her shock when he asked her to plastinate his body after his death.Dr Gunther von Hagens – the man who invented plastination in the late 1970s – is terminally ill with Parkinson’s disease and has declared his wish to become a permanent par...
Tags: London, Life and style, UK News, Art and design, Death and dying, Exhibitions, Parkinson, Gunther von Hagens

‘My death is not my own’: the limits of legal euthanasia

Henk Blanken knows Parkinson’s disease might one day take him past the point at which he wants to carry on. Dutch law says it is legal for a doctor to help him die when the time comes – but there’s no guarantee that will happenI’m half the man I used to be. One half of my body twitches. I drool when I’m peeing, and I tear up at the sight of tiny broken birch branches in the snow. Sometimes my left hand jerks up, leading to slapstick scenes in which I involuntarily chuck a glass of water over my ...
Tags: Europe, Law, Life and style, Society, World news, Netherlands, Death and dying, Assisted dying, Parkinson, Henk Blanken

Cross Bones graveyard was not just for prostitutes and outcasts | Letter

Gillian Tindall says we should lay to rest the story that Cross Bones graveyard in Southwark was a special burial ground for prostitutes and other outcastsPleased though I am to see that the Cross Bones graveyard in Southwark (corner of Redcross and Union streets) is going to figure in a Historic England exhibition (Report, 30 July), could we lay to rest the modern story that it was a special burial ground for prostitutes and other “outcasts”? There are lost burial grounds all over Southwark, as...
Tags: England, London, Religion, Life and style, UK News, World news, Christianity, Death and dying, Southwark, St Saviour, Cross Bones, Gillian Tindall

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