Almost Heaven

On Tuesday evening I went along to a screening of Almost Heaven, a documentary by Carol Salter of Rock Salt Films with my friend Laura. Worth mentioning a different friend Laura to the one I went to the museums with. It just so happens that I know quite a few Lauras, and I’ve never met a Laura I didn’t like. Fact.

       

Almost Heaven is about 17 year-old Ying Ling, a girl who goes to work in a Funeral Parlour a long way from home in a strange city. When she starts, she has an infectious smile and a relatable fear of ghosts hanging out in the corridors of the building where she works. She seeks to become braver but doesn’t know how, so she asks everyone she can, including a search engine on her phone, for advice. I liked this film because it showed her life with the background of the funeral home as a setting rather than a focus. Interestingly, Carol Salter who was present for a Q&A at the end of the screening said that she decided to make this film as a way of dealing with confronting death in her own experiences. This struck a chord with me, as it relates to why I am doing what I am doing and trying to get people talking about the subject of death. Or, at least, that by thinking about it a little bit more it becomes more approachable and acceptable to do so. The whole feature was filmed by Carol and one camera, and I think it’s easy to understand how surrounding herself with this project could help her. Carol also did briefly touch upon the new movement of (mainly) women trying to get people talking about death more and the possibilities it was opening, she didn’t explicitly say Death Positivity but I’m pretty certain that is what she was referring to.

The thing I found most interesting about this documentary was the nature of the funeral business in China and how it was dealt with by the people working in the funeral parlour and the clients who were there when this was filmed. How the deceased are treated and the difference between the traditions I know from being in this country and the similarities of how these are practiced. This felt quite natural because of not being the focus, they were just as things happening in the film that Ying Ling was learning as she progressed her venture into the funeral business. Carol did mention in the Q&A that she thought it was fair to say that the funerary practices in the U.K. are still solidly grounded in Victorian era traditions and this forms a lot of the way in which we deal with death. She did not want the Chinese practices to be thoroughly described because she was not sure about them herself, but rather she intended to give an insight, like she had experienced, of the way in which they deal with their deceased. I don’t want to spoil this for anyone who wants to see it too much, but I think being able to feel for Ying Ling and her situation was the great thing about this, and I’m fairly certain this was the intended focal subject matter rather than the funeral business she was immersed in. Yet still, we should feel privileged for a rare glimpse into this industry and the people who experience it either from the point of view from those working or the deceased and their families. 

I’m not sure where, or when, or for how long this film will be available but check it out if you find it in time! I am also very aware that I am a liar because I said in my last post you wouldn’t hear from me until next week but I’m sure you’ll get over it.

MG x

The Crossbones Cemetery for Single Women

The time has come and I wanted to write a post to signify leaving my current job for my new one. I felt that one appropriate way of doing this was to mention Crossbones. 

Crossbones today is a memorial garden you can visit at certain times during the week, particularly handy as it’s open around lunchtime on weekdays and a short walk from my office. It’s flanked on one side by tall railings which obscure the garden by hundreds of ribbons, cards and flowers tied to them. This is what I saw at first when I visited and wandered down the street it is on. It took my breath away, I couldn’t help but stand and look at it for a long time. I’ve been back a few times since, and this always is a sight I love.


The Railings on Redcross Way

The entrance is just around the corner from here, through a kind of trellis tunnel where there were some volunteers who were giving out cards with information. This then opens out to the garden which is a serene and peaceful spot in the middle of hectic Southwark. I had a real sense of calm come over me, and respect for the site and the other people visiting. 

Crossbones originally was a cemetery known to be used as early as around the 16th century up until it closed 1853. It is believed to be the resting place of ‘single women’, in modern terms prostitutes, other people considered not able to be buried in consecrated ground, and the poor paupers of the area. Relevent to my line of work, the cemetery was also a hot spot for a body-snatchers who took corpses from burials to sell to the anatomy men at the local hospital. The Clink area of Southwark was a area of ill-repute at the time with brothels and taverns galore and by the time the cemetery closed it had more than 15,000 bodies and was full to bursting. It was deemed to be unsanitary to bury any more people there and was shut down for the health of those living around it.


The wall at the back of the memorial garden

After it’s closure, it lived through a few different guises and most recently part of the cemetery was excavated by archaeologists when the Jubilee line extension was built which gave an insight into the people buried there. Today, what remains has been developed into a Garden of Rememberance and is staffed by volunteers. This place, to me, is hugely significant in that it is an embodiment of an important part of the lives of the majority of those living in London during one of it’s major periods of growth. Although the garden is established, it could still be subject to development in the future but I believe sites like this are intergral to our understanding of the past and bring a sense of community to an area. Regular vigils are held on the site and I have no doubt they bring people together. From reading the event descriptions, they also highlight that while remembering the ‘Outcast’ they include the ‘Dead AND Alive’. A great example of my belief that by focusing on death and the dead we are celebrating life.

I would love to have gone into a more in depth history and I have barely scratched the surface with this post, but please go and read the full story on their website here. If you’re ever in Southwark pay it a visit, it’s so very worth the trip.


This Is Still The Crossbones Graveyard 

I’d like to say a massive thank you to my colleagues who I am saying goodbye to this week. I will never forget or take for granted how welcome you all made me felt and how friendly you have all been to the NHS-outsider who felt terrible when she said she was leaving 6 months later. I can’t lie however, I have never been more excited about the next part of my career journey and where it is taking me. My next post will be when I am employed as a Mortuary Assistant.

MG x

The Tissue & Bone, My Soul Has On Loan

The above title comes from the song Formaldehyde by a band called Editors. It has the right mix of moody lyrics and an eighties kind of vibe that appeals to me. However I’m not here to recommend songs you’ll be glad to know but, while I was sat in my car driving to a friend’s house one night I was thinking about writing an article on organ donation and I heard that lyric. It seemed hugely appropriate, and I do love a coincidence.

I would safely wager that nearly everyone knows that organ donation is where organs are taken from one person and given to somebody else. We know that organ donations can save lives and we know that there is a list, or something like that, somewhere. Personally, I started looking into organ donation as a small project just to understand it better. I know that working in a mortuary will expose me to certain aspects of the organ donation process.

Organ transplants started around the 1960s and are now a common medical procedure. To this day, there have been over 1,700 people in the UK that have received a transplant since the 1st April this year. Currently, around six and a half thousand people are awaiting an organ for transplant. While you can donate some organs during your life, like a kidney or sections of liver, organs like the heart can only come from deceased donors and only those who have died in very specific circumstances. In order to take donations from the deceased they need to have either experienced brain stem or circulatory failure where resuscitation has not been possible or successful. It’s not always organs donated either, a variety of tissues and other parts of the body can be taken, like ligaments or veins. That being said, only around a third of the people in the UK are actually registered for organ donation even though it is thought that the majority of people are in agreement with the process and registering is easy. I don’t think it’s hard to see that we are short of organs to save the people who need them, but it is difficult to understand why so few people are actually signed up.  

There is a great belief that people simply don’t talk about this enough, and a campaign began to try to encourage people to discuss it more, for example with family at the dinner table. However, it’s understandably deemed by a lot of people that the last thing they want to talk about with their nearest and dearest is what happens when they die. I think this is sad, but I’ve also accepted that my perspective on this is unusual. To counteract the stigma around this, there is now talk of creating an ‘opt-out’ situation for organ donation where everyone is ‘in’ unless they declare themselves otherwise. It’s used in other countries, like Wales for example, and they have found a significant rise in donations once implemented. I guess this plays on the apathy around signing up, switching the focus around and people wouldn’t bother to remove themselves unless they were strongly opposed. I think this would also give the process a sense of normality and therefore be more acceptable to the country as a whole.

There are some reasons for being against organ donation, the most common seems to be religion. Effectively, organ donation could be against your religious beliefs, or it could not be as simple as that. It could be considered that by donating you are compromising your access to the afterlife. In addition, there are also doubts around the ineffectiveness of the transplants that occur and that the organ could be rejected. Rejection is also possible at any time, even years after, and medication is required to be taken indefinitely in order to prevent this. For some people, distaste is felt about their body parts being in somebody else or having someone else’s in theirs. 

From my own perspective, it seems senseless to waste something I no longer have any use for. It’s like taking my old clothes to the charity shop when I don’t like them anymore, or freecycling that old unit because we mounted the television on the wall. I’m not necessarily philosophical enough to be in agreement with the aforementioned song lyric, but I like the concept. This body is mine while I’m using it, but when I’m not anymore I don’t see why parts shouldn’t help someone, or at least give someone hope. The possibility of rejection is there, but it could not be rejected and help someone live. Even though I’ve stated where I am sat on the subject, please don’t think I’m trying to persuade you in either direction. I’d like to think I’ve provided some thought-provoking pointsand if you feel strongly about any of this content please comment below and let’s discuss together! 

I strongly encourage you to do some further reading if you would like and here are just some clickable sources that I’ve used for research- 

 MG x

I’d Rather Look at the Corpses!

I am typing this with only 7.5 days left to work in my current role, and experiencing being incredibly let down by my immune system. I think a busy weekend and start of the week has got to me, but I’m still revelling in all the excitement and coping quite well, even with a brain that won’t stop churning over everything while denying me any sleep. So, less of talking about me currently, I must update you on what happened in the last week!

On Saturday my oldest friend Rachel and I went to the British Museum for the afternoon. When I was studying archaeology at UCL, the British Museum was where I spent a lot of my spare time that wasn’t spent in the pub. I used to walk through it on my way to university, and I often used the loo there if necessary after my hour long tube journey. It will always be a home from home, so it was very fitting and thoughtful that my friend would buy me afternoon tea there for my 30th birthday. The tea was lovely and the sugar intake was incredibly welcome for a wander around the museum after. We looked at the Egyptian mummies, the Sutton Hoo helmet, the Lewis chessmen, the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon Marbles… all of the awesome delights of that place that kind of feel like old friends to me. I’ll be honest, since starting this blog I keep seeing death in everything I do and thinking of what blog articles I can write which is utterly dark, but I’m finding it really fun. Nevertheless, that museum is so full of funerary artefacts and actual deceased people and animals that it’s hard to not see the obvious relevance to this blog. It’s the most visited museum in London (I think!) and it’s brilliant that it’s crammed full of sarcophagi, actual mummies or grave relics. Check out the museum website for more information here

One of my favourite rooms at this museum is the Wellcome Collection Living and Dying exhibition in the back of the museum where there is a large table-like structure in the middle. This is the ‘Cradle to Grave’ art installation which shows the medication the average person would take in their life and the kind of milestones this reflects. Every time I see this, I have to take it in properly because it’s so fascinating. More information on this here if you’re interested here.

Photo taken by me of the Cradle to Grave art installation.

We left there not long before it was due to close, and then wandered around Fitzrovia on a mini pub-crawl (we are classy ladies I assure you) and ended up in Wahaca. While admiring the large mirror in the shape of a skull in a top hat and the little woman in a dress with beautiful hair and a skull face signalling the female toilets, it occurred to me that I’m just seeing the death in everything I see. Or maybe I did before; I just have a greater awareness of that now. Again I’m aware this is dark, while amusing and oddly comforting it’s still dark.

Isn’t she splendid?

Sunday was possibly the best day I have had in quite some time, marginally beating the day I found out I got the mortuary job. I am a big fan of a podcast show called Wooden Overcoats which is a comedy drama based around a funeral home on a fictional channel island called Piffling. My partner told me to listen to it because he knew I would love it and it took me far too long to get around to it. However, by the time I was about halfway through the first episode I had downloaded the entire thing and devoured it all in two days straight. I love it so much because, very simply, it is a great comedy which makes me giggle insanely. The setting, the cast, the writing, everything about this podcast is perfect. As it turns out, give me a couple of pints and I will (albeit quite anxiously) even tell the head writer of the podcast that fact.

On Sunday afternoon, the ‘Wooden Overcoats’ team put on a live show at the London Podcast Festival in King’s Cross. We went along to see the show and arrived a little bit before it started, so grabbed a drink and headed outside to have a look at the canal outside. This is where we met a lovely fellow fan, Selene, who we were chatting to and I sat next to during the show. The show was as wonderful as I imagined and then, somehow, through a series of unbelievable events we ended up talking to the cast. The original (ooh giving away some of the plot!) funeral home on Piffling is run by twins Rudyard and Antigone Funn. From the start I felt a lot in common with Antigone, which says a lot about me if you listen and know what she’s like. If you don’t, I want more people to listen to it so I’m giving as little away as possible and please go listen! I had the great privilege, in particular, of meeting Beth Eyre who plays Antigone, who is lovely and I am still chuffed to absolute bits that I got to speak to her. I might be dark like Antigone, but that doesn’t matter and only makes for some interesting, albeit socially awkward, conversations. Go find out more about the podcast hereCiara Baxendale, myself & Beth Eyre

Sunday ended, and I was sat in a Five Guys with my newest friend Selene, my partner, a grilled cheese and the biggest grin on my face. I swear I’m worried that if I keep Cheshire Cat-grinning all the time I might stay this way.

I would like to say a massive thank you to the Head Writer of Wooden Overcoats David K. Barnes for sharing this blog on Twitter and I hope that in future I can be of help for some plot writing inspiration in any way I can!

As always, please leave comments, like the post, and ask any kind of questions you might have. It’s been great to hear feedback from people so far and thank you so much for reading.

MG x

The Gordon Museum of Pathology

On Tuesday, my friend Laura and I went to the Gordon Museum of Pathology. It’s not open to the public, only medical students and a few others are allowed to visit. Fortunately for us, staff members of Guy’s & St. Thomas’ are included in those ‘few others’ and I cheekily rang the curator Bill Edwards a few weeks ago to ask about a visit. He kindly obliged and it was arranged for the 12th September. I geeked out yet again, because that’s what I do.

The Gordon Museum of Pathology was opened in 1905 in the grounds of King’s College on the Guy’s campus. It is currently the largest medical museum in the country and the largest pathology museum in the world. That’s a fairly awesome thing to have the freedom to explore and I’m amazed more people don’t jump at the chance to have a nose around. Laura and I scoffed when the curator at the front desk said they were open until a quarter to nine when we arrived at half past four, until we saw the size of the whole museum. We had started off looking at every single item and made it round about a sixth of the museum in an hour. I take back my scoff, we could have spent an entire day in that place.

It boasts some very impressive items which are of huge significance to the medical profession. It has items used by Thomas Hodgkin, Thomas Addison and Richard Bright to define the diseases names after them. In one corner of the museum is the mummified body of Alan Billis, a taxi driver mummified for a Channel 4 documentary and that was moved there from the University of Sheffield in 2012. This floor also contains the wax models created by Joseph Towne in the 19th Century which are still used today for study and are, simply, incredible. Alongside these, there are detailed paintings of people with tumours by Lum Qua and what seems like thousands upon thousands of pathological and surgical specimens in jars and pots arranged into either body parts or circumstances on the other floors. I very much feel that the previous 135 words do not do the museum justice, so make sure you go to the museum website and the Wikipedia page to check it out further.

For the purpose of this blog post I’d like to discuss the five things I liked most about this museum, either items in it or features. I’d also like to mention that while I think it’s unfortunate that the museum is not open to the public, I entirely understand the laws and regulations around why this is the case and why it is an incredibly sensitive topic. I will, at some point, write an article about this once I get my head around it myself! For now, five things I thought were either fascinating or awesome and I would like to share that aren’t the obvious items I’ve already described above.

1. Suicide by circular saw – there is a whole section on suicide and self-inflicted wounds, and in this section is the top part of a skull with one deep, straight groove and one shallower but similar groove. These wounds were damage by a circular saw and I found myself staring at this skull for a long time. I’ve tried to type why I find this so fascinating, and I can’t really put it into words!

2. Poisons – There is a whole shelving unit of examples of poisoning, the damage to stomachs and internal organs created by the different poisons. I think this is interesting because we are familiar with the movie style gurgling and froth that comes with poisoning but I’d not really thought about the internal damage that causes that beforehand. Maybe that says more about me than anything else.

3. Joseph Towne wax torsos – There are several torsos or upper body models made by Joseph Towne that really only don’t look real to me because they’re not floating in liquid like all the other specimens. The thing I found most impressive, other than how real they look, is the effort that went into making a wax wooden block for the head to rest on. It looks like real wood and it blows my mind why you wouldn’t just use wood. Typing that I’m wondering if he thought about the wood maybe being compromised over time and then I start thinking about if he knew his models would be around for hundreds of years.

4. Tattooed skin – There’s two small boxes on display with tattoos in them, one is older than the other and has some pretty designs that I could imagine on a sailor or something. The other is a smaller design which is not as old and was removed from someone who didn’t want it anymore. I kind of like to idea of my tattoos being in a museum in a jar after I’ve died but then part of me thinks the beauty of tattoos is that they aren’t a forever art. You carry them around with you and then once you’re gone so are they.

5. Animals – Laura and I had been wandering around for a good two hours (we had the whole museum to ourselves for most of our visit, other than the curators wandering here and there and opening windows making the whole place very chilly!) and we saw a door that went into a little corridor and then to another room. It was not a part of the main museum but a separate offshoot with a stairwell corridor containing some large cabinets with animal skulls and some pretty wooden carvings at the top of some stairs going down. We wandered through (though not sure we we supposed to) and entered a large room filled to the brim with animal skeletons and taxidermy subjects. This is the Life Sciences Museum. It’s wonderful and unexpected, and we loved it.

If you have any questions about the museum or the items above just leave a comment. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and my quick, ten minute sketch of some kidneys in a jar! 

MG x

Why? 

I heard this recently on a YouTube video recommended to me- “We fear death because we are born only knowing life”. That was said by the human wonder that is Neil de Grasse Tyson. If you have no idea who that is please, please, please go Google him and watch some videos of him talking. After you’ve read the rest of this of course! 

A few people have had one simple reaction when I have told them I am going to work in a mortuary. Reactions have largely been positive by those closest because they know me and they know what interests me. However, in general, any kind of negative response by others has been for my welfare around the things I will see and the lesser pleasant aspects of the job. This is something that made me think a lot because my mind was trying to figure out why working with things like this made me a happier person when they clearly disgust others. Why I have craved working with the deceased for most of my life either through archaeology, forensics or now via the work in the mortuary. Does this make me, for want of a better term, weird? Is there something wrong with me for, well, (hesitatingly!) admitting that I enjoy this kind of work and being surrounded by it?

In response I did the only thing I could do and what I do best, which is researching things and falling into the deep abyss of the internet. This led to me discovering Death Positivity. I would like to talk about this a lot more in the future because it covers such a wide range of aspects of death, however, for this post I will focus on the thought that by knowing more about death it has a positive impact on our life and therefore we enjoy our lives a lot more.

I think I can summarise that this happens in two ways; firstly, that by through not fearing dying we reduce the taboo around it and, secondly, by being able to talk about it with other people more freely, we are able to understand a lot more about it and satisfy our curiosity. 

I remember that when I was younger I would lie in bed before I fell asleep and have quite morbid thoughts. I was a bit obsessed with my own demise, in probably a bit of a Wednesday Addams way and possibly not entirely healthily. I don’t remember how old I was, or if I ever tried to speak to my parents about this, but I kept these thoughts largely to myself until I was much older. I mainly thought about how and when, there was quite an egotistical side where I pondered if I would be remembered or just disappear into insignificance, and later came a strange fascination with slightly more philosophical ideas. Looking back I can see that these were odd thoughts for a child to have but they certainly formed the adult I am now. This drove a need to understand more about death, to answer the curious thoughts rumbling around in my head.

This is why learning about what happens when we die keeps me happy. It reduces the fears of my inner child about the unknown. Not only do I find the whole thing fascinating but it drives me to be inquisitive, and through being both fascinated and inquisitive I am learning all the time which makes me ridiculously content.

After I was told I had been successful in my role at the mortuary I was quite apprehensive about telling people. In the end I did what every good millennial does and wrote a Facebook post announcing it, of course. Since then, I’ve spoken to many people and it has made me realise one thing. If someone thinks me odd for what I am doing it does not show anything abnormal about me. It is, in fact, much more a reflection on them of their own constraints around what is normal and what is not. In addition, I question why something that happens to every single person in the world at some point is not normal? Why is it not interesting to people Why do people shy away from talking about it and why has modern society placed a huge taboo around death? It’s not always been that way, so why do we now shy away from it? 

I don’t know how to answer any of those questions but I’d like to think more about that as I go along. Interestingly, a friend said something to me that struck a chord. I was showing him my logo when I designed it and he said that he hated skulls. He hates anything like that. Why? 

He would rather celebrate life.

I think the saddest part of that concept, and I tried to explain, is that he is entirely missing the point. That by examining death we are celebrating life, and it’s the most profound way of doing so. 

If you’ve enjoyed reading this please go watch this video which gave me the quotation for the start (Huge thanks to Ben for showing me this!). It’s hugely thought provoking and I’d happily discuss with anyone if they would like to. 

If you have any ideas or feedback on this please feel free to write a comment and thank you so much for reading!

MG x

What do you think about having a body farm in the U.K.? 

There is an article on the BBC news website today regarding the desire and need for a ‘body farm’ to be established in this country, like the ones that are in America (and apparently one in Australia too!). If you don’t know, a body farm (or I what I think is officially known as an Anthropological Research Centre, or similar) is the term used for a site where taphonomy (the science looking at decomposition among other processes that happen after death) is studied in people who have donated their bodies to science and it helps us understand decomposition in the many different scenarios that can occur. This is valuable from the standpoint that we have a very particular set of environmental circumstances in the UK which could hamper our understanding of how bodies would decompose and therefore any insight into real life examples.

Although the UK does not have a body farm as such, there are researchers who use (as far as I have read and understood) pig carcasses to a similar aim of study. During my own studies at university, during my masters course, we were taken to a mock crime scene where we were asked to investigate an area of woodland using the knowledge and skills we had learnt during our year studying forensic archaeological science. Our lecturer had set up some grave sites, with plastic skeletons and some other property like watches and jewellery. I remember at the time being disappointed that I had not picked up sooner that she had also planted some insect casings around the fake skeletons to mimic what would have remained if they had decomposed in situ. Then again, I can’t help but think if the ‘crime scene’ had been a little more realistic, or even if they hadn’t actually tried to recreate a crime scene at all but shown us some real examples of the types of things a forensic archaeologist might see then this could have been far more valuable.

I do understand that there are a great number of laws and regulations in this country around what happens to the deceased and their tissues, and this is all for very good reasons I cannot question in the slightest. My understanding of the legal side is limited at current, but I hope to learn a great deal more about how they impact the mortuary once I am working there. However, if it is the legal side which is preventing a body farm being introduced to the UK I would be very interested to know the legal context of this in the countries that already have them.

I also completely understand the reservations around the value of such experiments using human cadavers when the factors impacting decomposition (including, but not limited to, lifestyle, diet, illness, conditions of death, weather, temperature, insects present, other animals present…) can be so incredibly varied and wide ranging. However, I would debate with anyone to find a science that didn’t start out without understanding the full scope of what was being examined or what was needed to be examined in order to understand the science fully. Surely this just means that the study of such things is in its infancy and does not undermine the need for the study to take place in the first place.

Alongside this, of course I can see how having a place where you know this kind of research is happening might be a little out of favour. Especially if it’s on your doorstep! Not everyone is fascinated with these things and most would rather not think about it at all. 

As you can probably tell, I would be a full supporter of a body farm being instated in the UK and would be very interested to see how and if this progresses any further. I’d also be very interested to know your thoughts on body farms and how you feel about this. 

On a lighter note, I’ve been sketching away since I sat and designed my little logo for this blog and I thought you might enjoy a couple of cat skulls I came up with at the same time. I’ve been looking at adopting another cat and this led to me looking at cat skulls on the internet, that’s how my brain works!

MG x

Article here if you fancy having a read!

AAPT Conference

I keep singing Wake Me Up When September Ends under my breath when I think about how long I have left in my current job. Then I stifle a giggle and get on with my day! 


It’s not like I know it’s 19 working days and 25 calendar days or something like that anyway. Nope.

Well I promised a post about the conference and here it is. The AAPT (Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology) Conference 2017 is in Cardiff this year on the 30th September. This lucky so-and-so got jammy and managed to get a ticket and a room-share with a lovely trainee APT. In exchange I’m driving my new colleagues to Wales in my little Fiat 500, and I can’t wait for it!

I’ve studied the timetable for the day about twenty times now (when I probably should have been doing other things) and I’d like to just go through what I’m most excited about. I’ll do another entry (or several) after to let you know what I discovered and what exciting things went down!

So there is a talk titled Corpses and Cat Videos: APT’s guide to social media which I am most excited about. Firstly because I saw this title and squealed in delight. I’m just a touch of a crazy cat lady. Secondly, social media is a huge part of my life. This talk should prove very useful towards not only improving this blog but also in other aspects of my job and life.

The other talk that caught my eye (I won’t lie, there’s a lot of ancronyms in most of them I had to google to understand) is the final Mental Wellbeing in the APT. Mental health is a subject close to my heart, and I’ve read in various articles that those working in mortuaries can be affected by what they see even if they are completely unaware. I will be very interested to see what this talk focuses on and what comes from it.

Im certain I will find them all fascinating, and I’m already brimming with excited energy about the whole conference.

September is going to be a very, very long month.

MG x

Four weeks to go & Death Positivity

Woke up this morning feeling so low about the fact it’s still an entire month before anything happens with my job! Sometimes I get in a bit of a brain funk and it takes a bit to dig myself out of it. 

To try and distract myself yesterday I started reading up on death positivity. I had an awareness of the death positivity movement and the fact people are making moves towards changing the way in which the world treats the taboo subject of death and how we dispose of our dead. 

One of my favourite non-fiction books is called Necropolis by Catharine Arnold Review in the Guardian Here! which is all about how London has treated it’s deceased since it existed. I found this book really interesting from an archaeologist point of view, but it also left me with a feeling there is a long way to go in improving the whole system around what we do with our deceased. Also, within that, a long way to go in changing people’s perceptions around what should happen. 

One interesting thing I found online yesterday was that it is strongly felt that the death positivity movement is being led by women. This is something I intend to do a lot more reading around for obvious reasons. Look for more on this in future! 

MG x 

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