This blog was originally published on Dyingwell.uk, a website owned by Clair Fisher.
In Clair’s words: “Dying Well was my retirement project. A space for me to document my personal journey, to explore the evidence around wellbeing in terminal illness and test out some of the theories.”
Like most people our New Years Eve celebrations are pretty modest this year. Just the 5 of us at home with game of Risk, a mini buffet of party food and a film. In the middle of all of that we watched the brilliant tour video from St. Catherine’s Hospice and talked about where and when I might die.
That might sound really morbid, but it wasn’t.
My kids asked questions about what happens to your body if you die at home, who would take it away, where would it go, what would a dead body look like and how long would it be before it smells. Some of these questions we were able to answer between us, Google provided answers to the others, and some we’re going to talk about with friends who we think will know the answers. Watching the video and having this chat took maybe 10 minutes out of our evening. It wasn’t planned, it just sort of happened.
I’m finding that these important conversations occur little and often in our family, and bit by bit we’re preparing together for what’s to come.
So as I look ahead to another New Year, I’m grateful to still be here, to be feeling so well, and given everything that 2020 has thrown at the world, I think we’ve been very fortunate.
I’m not making resolutions this year, but I am making a Wellbeing Plan based around the 10 Keys for Happiness (starting with the 5 Ways to Wellbeing). As I go I plan to blog & tweet about how I get on and research a bit more about how these relate to wellbeing specifically in terminal illness.
Giving. This year our family will be supporting St. Catherine’s Hospice and the Horsham Matters Foodbank. I’m also making plans about who I want to give some of my precious things to and finding that this brings me joy.
Relating. A tough one in Covid times but I’m grateful for the support of friends & family, and want to find ways to keep connected.
Exercising. I’ve signed up to REDJanuary to get focussed on excising everyday at the start of the year, and I’m thrilled to be part of the Safe Fit trial on exercise and wellbeing for cancer patients. (Particularly pleased that both of these should benefit me while also adding to evidence base.)
Awareness. I know that Bible Journaling and walking in green spaces are the ways that work best for me to live mindfully, stop, take notice and be grateful. My Christmas gifts included a new mini sketch book and a set of beautiful watercolour pencils so I have the materials I need to help me incorporate these practices regularly into the months ahead.
Trying new things. I love learning new things and developing skills. I’m excited to complete the Open University module on Death Dying & Bereavement, and have bought some new piano music in an attempt to relearn a very rusty skill.
If you want to make your own plan do take a look at the #HappierJanuary resources and share with me how you get on!