Hi, my name is Kate.
I am a registered nurse who has been fortunate enough to work in the palliative care field for the past 19 years initially in the UK but now here in Australia. I am currently working as a Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Consultant in a busy public hospital in the centre of Melbourne.
I am also mum to two beautiful children who have only ever known me in a palliative care role. They have been brought up to know that death is a natural part of life and that it is important to talk about it. My daughter informed me of her funeral wishes when she was only ten years old – although those plans do change dependant on the genre of music she is listening to.
When my mum died in 2007 we had discussed all of her pre, during and post death wishes – I have fond memories of her sitting on a medical ward in the years leading up to her death reading articles about death and dying which shocked several of her nurses. I was lucky that my siblings allowed me to ensure that my mum’s wishes were adhered to when she died.
When Dying to Know Day was introduced in 2013 I was immediately interested in becoming involved. Here was an opportunity to encourage people to talk about the one thing in life that is guaranteed – Death.
That year I held a small session to try to promote colleagues to discuss the elephant in the room. This went well and I was encouraged to go bigger and better for 2014. Dying to Get it Right was a day’s seminar for allied health professionals working for the health organisation I was employed by at the time. It was very well received. I even tried my hand at live tweeting the event – although did mess up by using the wrong hashtag initially.
So what is happening in Victoria this year?
We currently have 5 events registered but as I am writing this blog we still have 2 weeks to go so I am hopeful that more events will happen.
The largest of the events is the Dying Matters Forum which has already happened on 21st July. Over 120 people attended! This was held at Richmond Town Hall and was been organised by the Active Ageing Advisory Group in conjunction with City of Yarra. The forum encouraged and supported people to think about what a good death is and to discuss how to ensure end of life wishes are respected. Molly Carlile – The Deathtalker and one of the Dying to Know Day ambassadors is the keynote speaker. The panel includes Alan Hopgood, Dr Julie Landvogt, Marion Lau and another of the D2KDay ambassadors – Dr Pia Interlandi.
An event has been planned by Nik Fawcett in Balnarring where people can obtain information about death and dying. The opportunity to spend time in discussion and meditation will also prove invaluable.
Footscray Community Arts Centre is hosting a Death Cafe at the Happy River Cafe. This event is hosted by Peta Murray co-founder and Creative Director of The GroundSwell Project. In real life she is a writer and teacher. She is soon to be one of three artist-researchers-in residence at FCAC's embOLDEN exhibition.
Last but by no means least, is the event that I will be attending – I am also acting as keynote speaker. This event will take the form of a conversation circle and Death Café at the Edinburgh Castle Pub in Brunswick. The event has been organised by Kimba Griffith, a civil celebrant with a special interest in Farewells and Living Wakes.
My hope for Dying to Know Day 2015 is for the message to be spread that to talk about death and dying is a very normal, natural part of life – and on a personal level to use the correct hashtag when tweeting about it.
- Dying Matters Forum | Richmond | July 21
- Information Stall | Shepparton | Aug 5th
- Morning Tea | Shepparton | Aug 6th
- The Just in Case Challenge + Info stall | Woodend
- Information Stall | Rosebud
- Death Cafe | Brunswick
- Information, discussion, meditation | Balnarring
- Death Cafe | Footscray
- DyingTo Know Day | Kalorama
- Information chat + resources | Emerald
- A Will for the Woods + Q&A | Springvale
- Death Cafe | Ballarat
- Dying to Know Day High Tea | Reservoir | Aug 11
- Community Conversations on death and dying | Woodend | Aug 13
Kate Holmes is a member of the D2Kday leadership group in Victoria. Click HERE to see the events.
Dying To Know Day is August 8th.
Go to www.dyingtoknowday.org for more details.
Read the big list of death literacy builders HERE.