“The idea of this option is to facilitate students’ exploration and discussion of death and dying from a creative perspective which in turn helps improve confidence in their thinking and talking about the topic. I have been thrilled to see students come alive in confidence as they move from generally being very hesitant, sometimes fearful, about the topic of death and dying, to enjoying and engaging with it. The aim is that they are enabled to address their own thoughts and feelings around death and dying and go on to work in this area with patients, but in the process they also produce amazing creative and often moving outcomes.”Revd Canon Karen MacKinnon, Death and Dying Tutor
Memory Doll by Tessa Comley
How can a child articulate and protect the memories they hold of a loved one? I had the idea of creating a memory doll as a form of memorialisation and to help with communication about grief. People’s appearance can change, their skin can become thin, hair can be lost, but the doll represents the person when they were living. Filled with charms and symbols to represent the way they lived their life, my creative outcome can be used by the child as a token, gift or tool.
Creative Approach to Death and Dying by Charlotte Kember
Through my creative outcome, I aimed to comfort people who are afraid of the idea that there is non-existence following death. I was able to do this by showing that even after death, your body still has a purpose of providing life to create beauty in nature. This beauty can be experienced by others and can be comforting for the loved ones of the deceased.
THE VICES OF COVID A COVID HOSPITAL Rushed in as an emergency Something that started as just a cough Rapid progression- something is wrong Ambulance staff radio ahead Oxygen levels are deteriorating Your chest rattles Your breath is raspy The pulse oximeter signals a disaster The verdict is Covid-19 Straight to ICU- fear in everyone’s eyes One ICU bed left; the wards are crammed full We are not prepared for this Each breath is crackling Velcro Every intake hurts Gasping for air I stroke your hair with PPE covered hands Hidden facial expressions A comforting smile to mask the pain But this smile is hidden by necessary protection You cannot see my empathy, only my eyes Desperate to see your loved ones, feeling alone Your family is forced to isolate and worry at home No visitors in ICU, it is far too dangerous Time is running out The fear in your eyes is destructive- it is clear you are scared of death No time to adjust to the possibility of dying- the deterioration is too rapid Aware of your surroundings, but quarantine prevents any goodbyes Restriction on freedoms and isolated loved ones A COVID CARE HOME Dementia does not understand Covid With its confusing rules and restrictions Quarantined to their bedrooms So difficult to explain why With nothing to look forward to, what’s the point of getting out of bed? Communal areas closed and activities cancelled, what’s the incentive to live? Void of visitors; void of love and compassion With the pandemic we are scared to hold each other’s hands Months and months of isolation You think your family does not care, causing a spiralling descent into depression No comforting, no interaction, no social discussion, or combing of your hair Your quality of life is fading, and deterioration is inevitable Dementia is worsened by mandatory segregation Alternative interventions: we try the video calls The remoteness is a struggle and lacks the human touch Telephone calls are quickly forgotten And regardless they are not the same Having visitors in the home is what keeps the residents sane Family and friends provide a purpose beyond comprehension Covid sees no boundaries, so to mitigate the risk The doors remain closed To protect the vulnerable residents However, the secondary causes of Covid are heightened Social isolation, loneliness and depression escalate dementia progression Many become bed bound due to a lack of movement Everything is purposeless, nothing is worth doing No familiarity for the elderly is ruthless A COVID FUNERAL Never more than 30 mourners Is it even a funeral at all? So many people have lost their loved ones Grieving in covid is unjust Bereavement services with little human contact A sterile 2 metre seating plan, unforgiving and uncaring No room for grief in the pandemic Unable to hug each-other Unable to support each-other Tears and snuffles behind the mask The death of a loved one brings excruciating pain in any circumstance March 2020 brought with it a dramatic change Mourning in isolation exacerbates the pain Extended friends and family watch it from afar They see and hear the ceremony from the comfort of their living room Forced to witness the despair of those attending A travel ban from abroad is both a physical and mental barrier Relatives log in from countries afar Virtual comfort does not compare to the physical touch of a loved one How impersonal, how unjust for the deceased No wake to celebrate the life of somebody special Emotional turmoil Depression, segregation, separation THE COVID HEROES We must not forget the heroes of Covid Those who sacrificed their lives to heal others Courageous but fearful, resiliently selfless Overwhelming workload: everybody is so tired Sleeping inhouse to be on call Missed every day by their families at home Superheroes in disguise But they are unable to save the lives of every Covid patient The cases are rising; 3 more nurses have died Protecting the nation and full of pride Healthcare workers have been neglected consistently Their health and wellbeing devastated by Covid Covid has killed in more ways than we think Depression, suicide, self-neglect and fatigue Burn out and isolation Nurses are unable to meet their own needs When will this turmoil end? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? And does this light depict death or new life? Covid has killed so many and so cruelly We mourn for the victims of the inhumane disease We mourn for the healthcare workers who have risked their lives And every single patient lying alone in their bed We mourn for those who have lost their loved ones And those who have mourned in solitary - Chloe Barltrop -