Festival blog

This festival blog is a space where people shared their plans and activities undertaken as part of To Absent Friends 2014. Please email if you've something you'd like to add, or go here for some ideas on how to get involved next year.

Falkirk Football Club remembers absent friends

Falkirk FC became the first football club to participate in To Absent Friends, supporting people to celebrate and remember the lives of players, fans, supporters and others connected with the club who have died. This is their entry in the Match Day Programme:

Staff reflection in GRI

Death affects us all at some point in our lives. Talking about it can be difficult in present day society.

As part of To Absent Friends week, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde provided space for staff to reflect and pay tribute to those people who have died but who remain part of their lives.

The event was jointly organised by palliative care nurses and the chaplaincy service, and staff were on hand to hear stories of those who have died, if staff wanted to share those stories. Others privately paid tribute to those they had lost.

The event took place between Nov 10th to Nov 14th from 9-5pm in the chapel in Glasgow Royal Infirmary and all were welcome.

Ann Silver & Elaine O'Donnell, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

Tayside Death Cafe

The Tayside Death Cafe met in November to remember absent friends as part of the national festival of storytelling and remembrance.

A death cafe is simply a coming together of people interested in discussing issues around death, dying and bereavement whilst enjoying tea, coffee and cake: it's about taking the subject of death into the public arena.

We met at Avery and Co in Dundee where we enjoyed delicious cake, heard sad and moving stories as well as finding plenty to laugh at together.

If you are interested in joining us or finding out more about the Death Cafe here in Tayside please contact Margo Sinclair or phone 01241 829152.

remembering in Cambuslang

Cambuslang Bereavement Support Group meets twice a month to support people in the community in their bereavement. The group are volunteers, committed to providing a safe place for people to meet, talk about their experiences and know they are not alone.

To Absent Friends provided an amazing opportunity for us to link in with the annual remembering service, held in the local parish church on November 2nd at 2.30pm. The bereavement support group took part in this service, raising awareness of the group and offering ongoing support to those who attend. This was a community event, open to all, and the group were delighted to encourage an opportunity to celebrate the lives of those who have died. Yes, it was sad, but there were also tears of joy.

We toasted our absent friends in two specific ways . The first was a wall of remembrance – something many contributed to, leaving a message and recalling the essence of those they have lost. The content of the wall was generated by those attending the service and compiled by a local artist, and then “revealed” following the service.

The second was a symbolic act: the simultaneous release of balloons, heart shaped, let off together into the sky. There is great comfort knowing we share the human experience of profound loss; we are not alone and can support each other. There is also a profound sense that those we miss are all around us still.

We were delighted to have the support of the local newspaper the Rutherglen Reformer, who are promoting the event for us.

By Libby Milton

Celebrating David's life

David Sharp came to Carberry Care Home in April 2013. You could describe him as ‘old school’. He observed and listened to everything going on around him. He had a quirky and mischievious sense of humour.

David wasn’t very sociable in the sense of participating in group activities. He much preferred the one-to-one he had with staff and residents alike. He had a fabulous memory and was quite happy to share stories, information and memories of the past – with anyone who asked or was willing to listen.

David passed away on Sunday 3rd August 2014.

Those of us that live or work in care homes have to find ways of coping with the death of friends, like David, who are very much part of our lives. Sometimes, doing something, whether it be musical, visual or even going on an outing, can be of more help than actually talking about it.

And so, last November staff and residents at Carberry Care Home spent some time celebrating David’s life. We painted a tree in his memory, giving us some quiet time together to discuss our memories and share a giggle. And we planted a tree in our garden in memory of all our friends at Carberry who over the years we’ve loved and lost.

By Rochelle Scott

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