Festival 2022

The To Absent Friends festival will take place across Scotland from 1-7 November 2022.

It is an excuse to remember, to tell stories, to celebrate and to reminisce about who have died.

Check out some of the events taking place below, and please get in touch if you'd like us to add your event to the listing below.

To Absent Friends

Organised by staff at Queen Margaret University

A photo across the campus of QMU showing a paved walkway, a lawn, several modern buildings, three young people conversing in a group, and a tree against a blue sky.

Wednesday 2nd November, 12.30 – 13.30 in Room 2104, Queen Margaret University, Queen Margaret University Drive, Musselburgh, EH21 6UU

In the spirit of storytelling and story listening, we invite staff and students to join together to share stories and memories of absent friends (those who continue to be with us in memory and spirit).

To facilitate this process, we invite you to bring an object that you are comfortable to share with those attending – perhaps it belonged to them, reminds you of times/places/events, symbolises something that was shared. Across our lives we receive and retain objects for many different reasons. We will bring them together to represent the stories that live within and between us, and in remembrance of those unable to tell their own stories now.

This is not a drop in event across the hour. If you are interested in joining, please arrive for 12.30pm. You are very welcome to bring your lunch with you.

Photo credit: Joanna Beveridge

The Burn Flows into the Sea

Organised by Lapidus Scotland

A photo of a small creek flowing into the sea. The bed of the creek is black because the sky is darkening. There are clouds on the horizon.

Wed, 2 November 2022, 10:30 – 12:00 GMT (Online).

An online writing event for grieving and remembrance, led by artist and writer Jane Walker, for the To Absent Friends festival 2022.

Since 2020, we have all become more aware than ever of absent friends – those who have died, and those whom we have been unable to see, for whatever reason. Jane will facilitate this event from a beach, and will guide you to write memories of absent friends, thinking about the elements of fire and water. Using your prompts, she will undertake a simple ceremony of ‘letting go’, floating a flower down the river to the sea, writing down words to give to the fire, and writing the names of absent friends on stones to be left face down by the river.

Jane facilitated a similar event in November 2020. After the event one of the participants wrote: “it’s a very special thing you are doing Jane and I think you’re going to heal a lot of people specially in time like this so keep up the hard work and I hope you heal the broken hearts out there and send them peace and love”

You can read poems written as part of the event on the Lapidus Scotland website.

Register to attend on Eventbrite.

Photo credit: Lapidus Scotland

Remembrance Service

Organised by the End of Life Quality Improvement Group, Critical Care, Royal Alexandra Hospital Paisley

A group photo of six members of the End of Life Quality Improvement Group at RAH. They are standing outdoors in the sunshine with a tree, a hospital building, and a blue sky behind them. Most of them are wearing scrubs and all are smiling.

Our service of remembrance will be held on the 26th of November 2022 at 10 am in the chapel at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley, followed by refreshments in the HALO gardens just outside (weather permitting).

This remembrance service has been arranged by staff within the Intensive Care (ICU) and High dependency Unit (HDU) in the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH), Paisley, recognising the loss that families have endured through the Covid 19 pandemic. This was compounded by the isolation requirements in place at the time that did not always allow families to be physically with their loved ones during their last hours. Our staff also found this time extremely difficult, and this is also a chance for them to pay their respects. It also aims to celebrate the lives of the patients who have died and to recognise the courage and dignity of those left behind.

This non-denominational service will take place in the chapel at the RAH on 26 November with a tour of the HALO gardens which have been created as a lasting memorial to those who died in the pandemic. We hope to create memories for families and staff by encouraging both groups to write short notes that we will display on a wooden memorial tree that will remain as an everlasting reminder of those departed.

This will be followed by refreshments within the hospital and an opportunity for staff and families to mingle, share memories and pay homage.

Photo credit: End of Life Quality Improvement Group, Critical Care, Royal Alexandra Hospital Paisley

Absent Friends Creative Workshop

Organised by No One Dies Alone Ayrshire

The logo for No One Dies Alone Ayrshire, which is navy blue and pink on a white background.

This event will take place on Wednesday 16 November 2022 at 6pm.

No One Dies Alone Ayrshire are hosting an arts & crafts event for To Absent Friends festival this year, in which we will be making memory boxes to remember our Absent Friends. Booking for this event is essential so we can plan appropriately. Tickets and event details are available on Eventbrite.

Image credit: No One Dies Alone Ayrshire

A Musical Toast to Absent Friends

Organised by Houston and Killellan Kirk

A flyer for the event decorated with a champagne flute on a blue background. The event details match the listing.

On 2nd November 2022, Houston and Killellan Kirk will once again be hosting “A Musical Toast to Absent Friends” for its members and community.

The event will bring together people from the local area who have lost loved ones for an evening of poetry, reflective and uplifting music, a light supper, and the company of other people.

The event will be a time where people who have shared the experience of bereavement can come together, share stories, or even just take some time to reflect and remember those they have lost, and raise a glass to their memory.

We were fortunate enough to hold a similar event in 2021, and it is a great privilege to be hosting another event this year with the support of the “To Absent Friends” grant. The event will mean so much to those who attend, and we owe our thanks to Absent Friends for creating this opportunity for our local community.

Image credit: Houston and Killellan Kirk

Share this page