Curate’s Comments: Grave Talk
Autumn is upon us! We are not yet in the bleak mid-winter and there are still some sunny days; nevertheless, the leaves falling from the trees gently remind us that new shrubs are no longer springing to life. With this in mind, it seems a fitting time of year to reflect upon life’s end. As far as the news is concerned, 2016 has seen a plethora of celebrities reaching the end of their lives; David Bowie, Caroline Ahern, Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood and Prince, to name a few. So, for much of the year, the Twitter talk seems to have been #RIP [followed by name of celebrity]. Along with newspapers, I wondered when the steady stream of celebrity deaths would slow down. What I found interesting, as death upon death occurred, was that whilst much public mourning took place, most was focussed on the celebrity’s life and did not appear to lead to discussions of death. It seems that even with the obvious fact in front of us, i.e. it is inevitable we shall all die, death itself was still not centre stage. With each death I began to think that as a nation we might benefit from facing the inevitable.
In 2003, I spent a formative year living in a community in which dedicated Catholic nuns spent their time caring for those approaching death. Apart from the nuns, those living in the community were all under 50, and in light of this, death seemed to be approaching far too early. I found myself frequently coming face to face with my own mortality; the result of which was that for me, death became a less uncomfortable subject. However, when I glance around, at the media, adverts, or shops, I cannot help noticing the clear message: we should be trying to evade death, and to stay young for as long as possible.
With the winter approaching and the cycle of death upon us, we are reminded that we are mortal. With this in mind, we invite you to come along to Grave Talk on Wednesday 2nd November from 8.00-9.30pm at St Peter and St Paul Church,Teddington. We welcome all; those with faith and those with doubts. It will be an informal evening where there will be an opportunity to think through issues of life and death, funerals and all things related to dying; topics which there are few opportunities to discuss in polite British society.
Then on Sunday 6th November at 6.30pm, we are holding our annual All Soul’s service, in which we commemorate those known to us who have died. For more details, contact Gabrielle Thomas on email@example.com or Sarah Williams on firstname.lastname@example.org.