Talking about death and bereavement at Roundhill Barn

Roundhill Barn hosted an important and moving conversation this week as 24 people gathered to share feelings, experiences and expertise about death.

Participants included doctors, independent undertakers, social prescribers, ritual designers and celebrants, also bereaved friends, children, parents and spouses. We looked at historic perspectives, also medical, consumer, environmental, emotional and spiritual. We heard the still lingering effects – inhibitions and fears – arising from c20th wars and persecution.

The plenary conversation mixed expert contributors with profound personal stories.

It’s a beautiful thing and a great relief to talk openly about a subject which is unavoidable, a universal fact of life and yet somehow taboo. We heard the bizarre example of the headteacher who wrote to say a girl’s mother had died and that no-one at school was to mention it.

We heard awful experiences of people forced into prescriptive and formulaic municipal or religious rituals or processes that overrode their desires and needs. And we heard stories that showed how openness about death and accepting death freed all involved to live life more fully, and how new approaches to undertaking could better meet the emotional and spiritual needs of bereaved people and be far kinder to the environment.

Roundhill Barn is a great place to have such a conversation, especially in the beautiful months: quiet, peaceful, intense. We’d be very happy to work with contemporary funeral directors and celebrants to host memorials which give friends and families time and space to say goodbye in their own way, unrushed, with huge views of the beautiful Somerset countryside.

We ended up with a “death cafe”: four small groups sharing feelings about the subject over tea and cakes.

About williamheath
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