Breaking the Silence - starting important conversations
Location of Event: Friends' Meeting House, Oxford
Charge: £8 (£6 conc) + booking fee
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
I have a keen interest in the effects of grief and how we deal with bereavement in our society, as well as our reluctance to talk about death and preparing for it.
I was an NHS therapist working in elder mental health and dementia. I am now a bereavement counsellor and educator. I lead bereavement groups, bereavement cafes and offer one-to-one bereavement counselling. I also help at a woodland burial ground and host death cafes and other workshops on death and dying.
Important conversations are often hard to start because we prefer to avoid bad news, but if we take courage and help someone face the truth it can make their journey so much less traumatic. It might feel that it is just as hard for the person breaking the bad news as it is for the person receiving it. Being prepared should make it less of an ordeal, and remembering that it is not you who has to hear the bad news. Telling someone they have a life-limiting illness or that their loved
one is dying in a gentle, empathic way can enable them to absorb the information and begin the process of coping with it.
So in this session we’ll consider the kinds of bad news we might need to deal with and look at some strategies to do this in a gentle but straightforward way.
I am a senior lecturer at the University of the West of England and co-programme lead the undergraduate Occupational Therapy course and MSc in Rehabilitation. I'm currently completing doctoral research developing the Handy OT Model, a practical framework and tool that supports people to be able to understand how to carry on and benefit from doing the things they want to do, whatever their situation.
Before working in the university, Ispent most of my 30 clinical year career working in the NHS with older adults, who are living with significant physical and/or mental health challenges and are often nearing the end of life.
I have done much work with people living with dementia and with dementia services, with an aim to promote the understanding and experience that life with dementia can be enjoyable, fulfilling and worthwhile, with dementia rather than despite dementia, and this often requires active maintenance and creation of opportunities to be able to live the best life possible.
I am passionate about people, systems and services
being open, honest, and ready to talk and plan for they perceive to be most difficult of circumstances. The deepest pain and most profound fear can only exist because of its relationship to the deepest and most
profound love. Having opportunity to explore awareness of this
link especially through opportunity for talking and listening
and opportunity and access to occupation, (the things that
people want, need or have to do) can support people through what they might experience as the most challenging and
negative of times.
I look forward to exploring ideas and thoughts in our coming
‘Breaking the Silence’ conversations.
Everything changed for me thirty years ago after I survived a light aircraft crash. It made me face up to my mortality and catapulted me onto a profound healing journey. For the past twenty years I have been helping people to transform their relationship with mortality through my end-of-life research, workshops and books on spirituality, consciousness, death and dying.
I have an MA in the Rhetoric and Rituals of Death (King Alfreds, Winchester) and a second MA in Creative Writing (Oxford Brookes). For many years I worked at a therapist, specialising in trauma, end of life issues, bereavement and grief. I now host Death Cafes on zoom, so please get in touch if you would like to be added to the mailing list.
Over the past few years I have become increasingly aware of the shifts and changes that are happening to our planet. This prompted me to write my latest book, Living Fully, Dying Consciously.
Missy is a member of the SeeSaw Youth Panel.