MG Reflects on BlogConLDN

It’s a sunny day in East London, and the Internet blogging masses descended upon the CEME centre in Rainham for BlogConLDN. I found this event myself through Eventbrite when searching for things to do while my fiancé was away that were in the local area. It seemed ridiculously coincidental that a blogging convention would be on, five minutes down the road and I would have no other plans.

I was skeptical at first, my brain assumes that a blogging convention would be full of fashion and beauty bloggers who would look slightly down on a death blogger turning up and masquerading as one of their kind. I’m not the kind of person to just turn up and see; so I did contact the organiser Scarlett beforehand just to make sure I would even be welcome!

Turns out, it was a pretty cool event. The CEME centre (that my phone keep autocorrecting to Cemetery, or course) is a nice venue for an event like this. Within minutes of turning up and noticing there was an awful lot of very fashionable people, I was approached by a lovely book blogger who asked if there was a map or programme of events. Alas, there wasn’t but we did head to get a complimentary glass of prosecco and have a little snoop around the stands. Not long after this a friend of hers arrived, a fellow book and also lifestyle/travel blogger who now blogs full time. I’m in awe of these people who are able to do this. In a world of others who blog about travel, health and beauty alongside the main bulk of fashion bloggers it must be so hard to get somewhere but these people have the confidence and the ability to really make a go of it. They headed off to a talk about Instagram, and we parted company but it was great to meet them.

I was asked a few times what I blogged about. I didn’t receive a single negative response which was surprising but also so very lovely. Many jumped to the fact my blog helps people and informs, which really put it all into perspective for me. The most perspective I got from today however, was a session I attended called Showing Up Online Without Anxiety hosted by an anxiety coach called Sam from A Happy Mind. I knew all along I wanted to attend this session from first seeing it advertised, and I’m so glad I did.

Sam talked everyone in the room individually through why we do what we do, who we do it for and how we know we are the right person for it. Even just having these pointed out to me and reflecting on this was valuable to my mind. It even justified why I had turned up to the event. I’m very thankful for this! She also came up with a tag line for me ‘Death Can Be Divine‘ which I adore!

Right now I’m sat in my garden, with my cats and having a cup of tea reflecting on it all and I can honestly say I do what I do to inform and educate. I do it because I want to reach out to those who need my help, whether that be understanding a process around death and dying or gaining some sympathy from someone who knows exactly what they are going through. This is is the purpose of my blog, and now the purpose of the Death Cafe too. My self printed ego mug seems ever so slightly less egotistic in reflection because I’m proud of doing what I do and how I got here. I deserve this mug just a little bit. I also got some inspiration to look a bit more into what I do with photos on here but that’s for another time!

Big thank you to those that organised, hosted, attended and chatted to me at BlogConLDN today. I had a blast even if I was an unstylish death blogger amongst many cool and trendy people.

MG x

I Just Really Like Talking About Death

Has it been the longest week or what? Writes the person who has had nothing but short weeks forever and has a five day week next week. Please feel just the tiniest bit sorry for me, or maybe that’s too much to ask!

It possibly felt like a long week because I’ve been non stop. I’ve also had a massive dip in my confidence due to not being all that great at evisceration this week. I felt like I lost all the skills I had mastered in the past few months but I’m certain it’s just a blip and I’ll be back soon. I had to get more help than I’ve needed in a while, and they weren’t really difficult cases.

One lovely thing that happened however, was the chance to show around a student nurse for a morning. It’s times like that when I realise that I bloody love my job and I love talking about it nearly as much. We get people approach the mortuary on a fairly regular basis asking if they can come visit, for some people this can just be a curiosity around what we do deep down in the basement. However for others they visit as part of their studies or work placements so we get a few students coming down. I think the first things people notice are that the mortuary is bright and clean, most people imagine a dark, dingy place with dubious smells and stains. I believe they also notice how friendly we are as a team! Each person has their own quirks but each of us is really cheery and friendly.

It was great to have someone to show what we do to, we each took some time with her to explain what we were doing which was nice and she asked some great questions. What I thought was very good was the fact she really just wanted to know what happened to the patients after they left her care. She thought it odd that people just were taken off to this place and no one really understood what happens after they last see them. I can see why this is the case, as people don’t like to think about what happens once you die, but I also think this is so unhealthy and people should know what happens. I can’t help but think that with that knowledge there would be far less fear from people around death itself.

With my colleague we showed her the booking in process, the cleaning of patients who have ‘purged’ (have fluid coming from the nose and mouth) and the releasing of patients to funeral directors. At the end of her time with us I gave her a quick tour of the post-mortem room (not in use at the time), the isolation room used for ‘high risk’ post-mortems and the other little rooms that come off of these. Doing this made me think of how much I have learnt in my eight months at the mortuary and how well I was able to answer her questions.

Relating to how much I like talking about my work, the next Death Cafe has been confirmed! On June 19th at the Sweet Rose Cakery in Upminster our second event will be on from 7-9pm. I’m excited to use this space as we have it all to ourselves, plus there’s wine and cake available. I think I’ll be very much a home there! More information can be found on our page here. If you would like to come please get in touch and let me know, or if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Wish you all a lovely weekend! I am attending the very exciting BlogConLDN tomorrow to learn how to make this blog better, keep your eyes peeled for any upcoming changes.

MG x

Teamwork, Bad Smells & a Brain Count Update!

Happy Friday to you all! I would like to start with the fact I have been very lucky to have another short week, and with the impending bank holiday I get another next week. It’s been nice to rest and reflect after the recent busy weeks and have some time to plan what’s going to happen going forward!

The mortuary has been busy with lots of different things happening. I think I’m starting to get the hang on the small stuff now, I definitely find myself asking less questions about the basics or in response to queries from other people. We’ve had a lot of post-mortem work happening which has meant I’ve been able to see a lot more and learn lots which is great. There was one day this week where the whole team (minus my colleague on maternity leave!) were in the post-mortem room working on people, chatting and showing each other what we had found. It was a really great time and it’s a shame it can’t always be like that but other activities often take place all at the same time limiting who can do what.

There has been an awful smell in the corridor outside the mortuary that the funeral directors and people visiting use when they come in. Everyone seems to assume it’s us… but our mortuary smells lovely! It’s funny how if there’s ever a bad smell in the hospital people assume it must be us. In fact, usually it’s the drains or the kitchens and emit really quite terrible smells sometimes too. Although, it says a lot that I don’t really notice them anymore and I don’t think the corridor smells that bad at all really.

Looking forward there’s some exciting stuff coming up. Plans are already taking shape for the next Death Cafe, although we are thinking about changing venue after a chat about the noise levels and the space at the last one. I’ve submitted my review of the last one claiming it an absolute success so I can’t see why the next one can’t be bigger and better!

Next weekend is the BlogConLDN which I am very intrigued to be attending. I think it’s mostly aimed at lifestyle or fashion and beauty bloggers but I can’t see why I shouldn’t be able to get something out of the day. If anything, there’s a complimentary yoga class which I will take full advantage of! My other half persuaded me to get some business cards printed with my blog url on them so I can hand them out to anyone who’s interested. I’ve double sided them with Death Cafe info too incase anyone asks me about that. So now I feel like a real ego monster and will probably never give them to anyone! Like the true geek that I am, when the printing company offered to print a mug with Mortuary Gem and my blog logo I couldn’t resist. That mug is officially known as the ‘Ego Mug’ because I feel ridiculous having even asked for it to be made!

Lastly, Brain Update! I made it to 25 brains removed, which I think was my first goal that I set myself. Next goal is 50. So far I’ve think it’s fair to say I’ve mastered the basics of evisceration and only struggle with some aspects now if they are complex or unusual. Since cutting myself with the PM40 I’ve become very aware of my hand placement and how to cut away from my fingers safely. I’ll get back to discussing topics from work next week hopefully and some more interesting things I’ve seen.

Thank you for reading, as always please let me know if you have any questions or comments and enjoy your weekend! I plan to spend lots of time in the hammock with a book (weather allowing of course!).

MG x

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