You see statements like that in films, or television shows. Parts where you flash forward and then you move to a significant point in the timeline being represented. In those fictional stories, you can assume that nothing much of note happened in the time that you have been shown to have elapsed taking you forward to that moment. This is quite the opposite, with an awful lot of things happening in the last year, and I’m hoping now for some calm.
In the last year I have tried my hardest to reflect and represent what I have seen unfold in the fairest and most open way I can. I’ve discussed my own mental health, physical health and my perspective on what I have witnessed. From that I hope that you all have taken what I wanted you to, that mortuary workers have in the past felt that we would be ignored because no one wanted to see that side of what was happening.
What I want people to take from this a year later, is the hindsight that for a year this country has largely been the most open to discussing death that it has been in a long time. While some people shied away from the news, others obsessed over the daily statistics to see what the new figures were and have a brief snapshot of whether it was getting better or worse. Many APTs have never seen such an interest in their work from the media and general public, appearing on news broadcasts and in national newspapers.
A year can seem like a very long time, or no time at all. In my personal experience, the last year has been a combination of both at times. The panic buying of toilet rolls and the COVID-19 symptoms I had at the start of it all seem like a distant memory, while the experiences from the mortuary feel like a matter of weeks ago.
What I would like to try and do is to draw a line from now on and, for my own sake, try to leave behind what has happened and stop writing so much around the pandemic. It has been the biggest focus of my blog posts for the last year but I think the time has come to focus on other subjects and stop worrying about what has happened or may happen in terms of the virus.
I’ll end on a thought I’ve had regarding how our Death Cafe has changed over the last year. More than three years ago when we started hosting those events, people are starting to communicate and realise that they need to be speaking more about death. Younger people are recognising this need and the damage that avoiding discussing death can cause. I hope that society has learnt that running away from the inevitable does not make it easier at all when it does happen, and by making certain preparations that are within our power we can remove some of the fear that surrounds it.