This festival blog is a space where people can share the plans and activities they are undertaking as part of To Absent Friends 2015. Please email if you've something you'd like to add, or go here for some ideas on how to get involved. You can also read last year's blog here.
Volunteer Midlothian organised a To Absent Friends event in Dalkeith Welfare Hall, hosted by the Retelling Our Stories group. The event provided space for people to chat and share their own stories of absent friends. The main atmosphere of the event was one of celebration, and the event was attended by a good mix of participants from local dementia friendly groups, and other groups for older people in the area.
Over a cup of tea or coffee, a storyteller shared a story about memories and those ‘passing away’, followed by the reading of a poem. A minute's silence was held for people to reflect on an absent friend or loved one - a poignant experience with which everyone engaged with great sensitivity - followed by the opportunity to light a candle.
At Accord Hospice in Paisley, they celebrated absent friends at Day Therapy. Music was their medium and they listened to many emotive and funny stories through words and song. Keeping to the theme of music, they also wrote memories of loved ones on blank CDs and displayed them on a wall of remembrance. Patients enjoyed taking part in the people’s festival of storytelling and remembrance, commenting that "it’s nice to have time and space to specifically reflect on those who we miss and love".
As part of their second year studies, Nursing Students from the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Dundee (Tayside and Fife Campuses) receive a Palliative Care lecture. This is an emotive subject and many of the students, in the past, have mentioned that this often evokes memories of their own personal loss.
This year, as their studies coincided with To Absent Friends…, lecturers ended the session with five minutes for personal reflection and the opportunity to add a message to the "virtual" wall of remembrance that was created (pictured right).
This gallery is a place to share photos of some of the great events that have been taking place as part of this year's To Absent Friends Festival.
We'd love to add to it - if you have photos you'd like to share, please get in touch.
You can view the full gallery of photos here: Gallery - To Absent Friends 2015
Schools from across Scotland have worked with professional writers and musicians to produce an anthology of stories and poems exploring loss. The work was inspired by personal experience of loss, as well as stories shared by local care home residents, of their ‘absent friends’ – loved ones who are dead, but whose stories live on. All the stories were written by young people aged 11—16 years.
To read the stories and poems, and learn more about the project, click here: Anthology of writing by Scottish young people