Still I continue to be blissfully unaware of whatever day it is, as if my new rota wasn’t enough to put me off now they throw a Bank Holiday Friday into the mix and I’m completely lost. Today is a very Mondayish apparently Sunday while I have been at work, the only things really giving it away are the quietness of the roads and the hospital which is still seemingly weekend-like. I was lucky to have the Bank Holiday off which was lovely but I did get a little sad at one point. The mental side of this whole pandemic can be a lot for most of us to take on, but the celebrations on Friday really got to me in a way. From one side, I was witness to a street party where everyone stayed on their own driveways and front gardens waving at each other from across the street. People had moved all of their garden furniture and even barbeques onto their drives and it was such an oddly wonderful thing to see. On the other side, I saw a lot of photos of large groups gathering and even people telling me about street parties near to them where people where completely ignoring social distancing. This makes me so angry beyond belief that people are ignoring the advice and believe it does not apply or will affect to them. It also terrifies me to think about the possible knock on effect on the hospital and the mortuary if a second wave of virus cases come from this. Only time will tell if this is a valid concern or not but it scares me and many of my colleagues that this could happen.
In other news, my interview with Tiernan Douieb of the Partly Political Broadcast was released on Tuesday and I have had some really great feedback. I’m pleased I could help the public understand the mortuary world a little better and try to break the myths around us mortuary workers. ‘Chirpy’ is certainly one good way of describing me, especially when I am discussing my work I do tend to be this way. It baffles me that some people still make the two main assumptions about mortuaries, firstly that they are always dark and cold, secondly that the people who work there are not only odd but also overwhelmingly morbid. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that I can talk about some subjects that people may find uncomfortable but I also found myself talking fondly about cake a great deal. I do love taking part in these projects and interviews with people so if you are thinking about getting in touch regarding anything let me know!
Check out the Partly Political Broadcast latest episode from all good podcast providers!
Also on Tuesday I hosted the first official Upminster Death Café on Zoom. I still cannot believe how successful and brilliant the experience was, particularly when I had convinced myself that there was going to be a technical difficulty that would mean it couldn’t happen. My trusty laptop which rarely has issues of course decided to freeze about 5 minutes before we were due to start, but once that was resolved the call began. A great mix of people gathered, when I tried to explain it to my other half that I impressed myself that we had people from Switzerland, Germany, India and Canada attend alongside some friends from different things including a previous job, and even people I’ve never actually met but know through Twitter. Unfortunately to ensure the conversation flowed we limited the number of invited attendees to 25, this did mean turning away a large number of people who contacted me shortly before or on the day and I can only apologise to these people. Going forward we will work to try and make this as fair as possible for the people who are interested.
Discussing death over Zoom!
Those who attended the Zoom call on Tuesday were all involved in a great series of conversations and I was very impressed with the input from people. Obviously it was a very different experience to the regular Death Cafes I am used to hosting, but it was different in some really great ways. The fact that people could attend from all over the world was brilliant, travel restrictions or distance are not an issue with a Zoom call! Plus, people attending from all over the world meant there were some great discussions regarding differences between countries or cultures. One of the main differences I noted was that on a conference call format you do not experience the side conversations that people tend to break off into when in the same room, not that this is a bad thing at all. One aspect I liked a lot about the Zoom call, and tried to emphasise to people, is that it is a perfect way of finding out if Death Café is something you want to sit through. There is a lot of pressure on someone who attends a physical event to stay, I would imagine at least until they have drunk their tea, if they feel uncomfortable or not entirely happy with what it is and they are not able to truly find this out until they attend. Virtually, people can join the call with their microphone and video switched off and just listen to the conversation if they wish. Then if it is not for them all they need to do is leave the call, free to finish their cup of tea or beverage of choice in peace. The next call is due to be on June 9th but this will be confirmed, get in touch if you would like to find out more.
Towards the end of the week, we had a number of pictures put up on our Hufflepuff Office door from local children who were saying thank you for our work. It’s so lovely to continue to see the thanks being sent our way. On Friday I went to social distance in the queue by the ice cream van on our road when a neighbour asked me if I could hear his fireworks every Thursday and it clearly meant a lot to him when my other half said that I nearly always cry at 8pm when I hear the applause start. I will leave you for now, these are very strange times indeed where things seem better than they have but I also cannot shift this feeling that we do not know what is coming yet, good or bad.