What is ‘Normal’?

I’ve been asking myself that a lot this week, especially as a lot of people have been asking if things are normal again at work. I am massively overthinking it, but what even is normal in the case of a mortuary where any day can be unpredictable and vary in so many ways. Obviously I know what people mean, they mean are there any COVID-19 deaths and are we incredibly busy, which I would say is a fair question. We are still experiencing the ups and downs that are seemingly out of the ordinary but in general things are more like the pre-pandemic mortuary that we remember for sure.

My first week back after annual leave was pretty uneventful, I sometimes struggle to get back into work after some time off but it didn’t take me very long at all to get back into the swing of things. I’ve now passed three and a half years at the mortuary which is an incredible feeling. It feels like I have achieved so much in a short time but also I don’t feel like I have been there any less time than my other jobs which I mainly worked at for around five years before moving on. What an incredible journey it has been, and the scary leap I made was well worth it and I have no intention to leave after five years at all!

Annual Pride month started this week and is important to me for so many reasons. I love the NHS rainbow lanyards, badges and keyrings that were launched at my NHS Trust last year. In order to get them we had to write a pledge that we supported LGBTQ people and would be open in doing so, and this is hugely important to me as I don’t feel that anyone should not feel comfortable to be themselves, especially in a medical or care situation. A number of NHS staff wear the rainbow to show that they are open to speaking to people about this, and I hope that it makes people feel more comfortable in our presence. Recently there has also been work in the AAPT to look into how APTs can be better at acknowledging and supporting the LGBTQ community in life and in death which is so important and exciting to see happening. I don’t believe that many people would have thought of how easy it is to lose your identity in death when you cannot speak for yourself.

Rainbows always with me

Otherwise, on Thursday we celebrated a colleague’s birthday at work and I got in early to put up banners and spread annoying confetti all over their desk. It was a lovely day with a great atmosphere and it was good to see a few people who I had not seen for a long time. Plus, there was great food and cake which is always an excellent addition to any day. On that day I showed around someone who was visiting to learn more about the mortuary and I think that they had a preconception that we would not be as cheery and friendly as we proved to be. Not just because it was someone’s birthday, but I do think we happened to be extra cheery on that day.

Always happy when there’s cake to be had

Outside of work I have been spending a lot of time with our new dog Annie and appeasing the two cats who aren’t completely enamoured yet with the idea of her living with us. Annie is still getting used to us and is a very timid dog but slowly she is coming out of her shell and enjoying her new life with us. It’s also getting me out for a walk each morning before work, which then a combination of that and my car not being very happy meant I actually walked to work on Tuesday, a feat I am very proud of. Anyone who saw me on Tuesday may have heard me mention it a few times at least. I’m very aware that I became very lazy during the pandemic, driving to work and eating a lot of food that was not great for me so now it seems a good idea to turn that around. Another, pre-pandemic normality aspect creeping back in!

Beautiful lake on my walk home from work

It was a fairly quiet week in general, but next week is a little bit exciting with what’s coming up. On Wednesday there is a very special Death Café being held in Cemetery Park at Mile End which will be our first face-to-face event in a year and a half. To be able to hold them in person again is a great opportunity assuming the weather is kind. I will update you all about my week again next weekend. Keep an eye out for future posts and have a great week everyone!

MG x

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