Local people have been sharing their stories and wishes as part of a Reading-wide initiative to mark national Dying Matters week.
A drop-in event was held by Healthwatch Reading at Reading Central Library on 17 May 2019, and on 16 May Whitley councillor Rachel Eden hosted a coffee morning in Kennet Island and also addressed a neighbourhood association later that day.
The events wee designed to tackle the taboo surrounding the topic of dying and to encourage more people to discuss their final wishes with their loved ones.
As people have shared their stories, the mood has been far from sombre, with lots of laughs and positivity, even from those with a life-limiting illness.
Here’s what Reading people have been saying:
- "He had a really 'good death' at home - it meant a lot, we were all there."
- "The hospice lowered his medication just before visitors came so he was lucid enough to say goodbye but then raised it afterwards for his pain relief."
- "I'd like to spend my last days in a hospice so my children can spend quality time with me rather than have to do all the hands-on care."
- "Sometimes we might put off visiting dying people because we are superstitious that this will make them die more quickly, but then we regret not visiting if they die before we expect them to."
- "Only someone else who has had cancer can truly understand what it’s like to be ‘nailed to a table’ during radiotherapy, but in the end I dipped out of the support group because they were in a lower place than me."
- "They let me do her hair and make-up [after she died]. It meant I could do it in the way I knew she liked it."
- "I wish they had let me see [my relative's body] but I was a child and they decided to keep me away. But it means you don't have the 'proof' they have died."
- "I don't think I dealt with it until after the 'death admin'. In fact I don't think I dealt with it until after [another relative] died years later."
- "I'd like to donate my body for medical research."