Exploring attitudes to death and loss might not sound like the basis for a good night out, but in fact it was. At the University of Leeds last night there was a performance by Ellie Harrison on ‘Etiquette of Grief’. It was engaging and entertaining, and caused me to think; Why do we want to be able to decide what happens to someone after they die? Do the rituals we repeat around funerals, like making sandwiches and sending cards, help or hinder grieving?
At the Death Café afterwards, we talked in small groups about death and loss. It felt supportive and as a learning experience, surprisingly not depressing at all. It did feel like quite a different thing to do, though, given that in our culture we so often try and avoid talking about the big life events.
How do our experiences of birth and death affect the way we live?