Halloween, a Death Cafe & The Animals of Farthing Wood

Another week is nearly complete and I’ve officially been working at the mortuary for an entire month. It’s weird because in some ways I feel like I’ve been there a lot longer, and in others I still feel like an imposter who’s snuck in and will be found out at as a fraud. I think this was particularly felt this week because, due to staff sickness, the first three days were just me and one other colleague holding the fort. Multitasking to the max! I very quickly learned the process of checking people out so I could just go and show the paperwork to the the APT who was helping conduct the post-mortems and then grab her to sign the book and check the IDs of the patients. Each day was a lot of running about, answering phones and the various doorbells that go off. Each day also came with a sense of exhaustion, but alongside a satisfaction that I had done it. Luckily by Thursday things had not only calmed down but another member of staff was back so luckily it wasn’t so hectic. A crazy but fabulous and confidence boosting week.

In the middle of all of that, Tuesday was Halloween! A few years ago I purchased a pair of skeleton leggings from eBay and have never actually worn them because they were ambitiously small for my food loving figure. However, I found them again and decided as long as I had a long Top they looked fine. Then I had a great idea, skeleton facepaint and some cat ears- I could be the strange logo I drew for myself on here! So I was Mortuary Gem for the night, and while watching half of the Bake Off final. Pretty sure I confused some kids who wondered why a skeleton was wearing cat ears, but the parents who came along apparently liked my facepaint. 

My leggings, awesome Halloween nails and some facepaint I did in about four minutes and twenty seconds…. ta-dah it’s Mortuary Gem!

The most exciting thing that happened this week was that I attended my first Death Cafe on Wednesday evening. As I mentioned before on here, I’m very interested in hosting my own Death Cafe at some point- if you have no idea what I’m going on about check out their website here. I read the booklet with guidelines on how to host one and it recommended attending one before you try, I guess to get a feel for how it should run and the kind of things that can happen. I looked up the upcoming dates and luckily there was one for a couple of week’s time about a 40 minute drive away so I arranged to go with some colleagues and a friend. On the night, those colleagues were all tucked up in bed recovering from various maladies so my friend Rachel and I headed off to the pub where it was being hosted not really knowing what to expect. 

All in all, the evening was all I had hoped for. There was lovely, friendly host (also called Rachel!) who I had emailed before the night and who welcomed us with open arms and some great topics about death. The two hours flew by in a range of conversations including (but not exclusively) how to talk to children about death, how you would wish to be buried and what happens to homeless people when they die. It worked out lovely funnily enough, the friend I took along is a special needs teacher and had a lot in common with most of the other people there. I’m certain this shaped much of the conversation so meant it was quite a unique experience, but it was brilliant! It also led Rachel and I to discuss a favourite subject of ours which carried on into the car journey home.

Once upon a time, when I was small, there was a cartoon on television titled The Animals of Farthing Wood. On the face of it, it appeared to be a lovely little story about some wildlife and their venture to move home from a quaint wood to another wood, or a forest, or something that I can’t quite recall. What I can remember, however, is the really quite horrific deaths that happened to some of these animals that you had become quite attached to before they ended up murdered, run over or in a pie. Okay, I might have thought I remembered them in a pie, but I was wrong. No, it was just roasted in the oven. Yep, poor little pheasant we loved was carried on a platter and had been roasted. We discussed this as part of how children think of death. While we were certain that the Disney form of death where people disappear and never return is not healthy or realistic, we also came to the conclusion that maybe a violent and graphic depiction of death of this nature was not suitable either and probably traumatic. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this! Also, the full pheasant story is here, in case you were wondering. 

Roasted pheasant anyone? 

So that was my week, completely tiring and wonderful in every way! Please do let me know your thoughts of this article in a comment, or a little like. If you have found me or know me from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram then please contact me on those. I will update once I know with details of my Death Cafe and any future developments. Take care and thank you for reading as always, 

MG x 

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