A very different kind of conference is coming to Christchurch which aims to make the subject of death more accessible to everyone.
"People are so afraid of death, to even discuss the subject,” says organiser Melanie Mayell of Death Café Christchurch. “But these are vital conversations that remind us what is most important about life: Right now.“
So Melanie is bringing a one day conference to life. Eight speakers and a choice of 6 workshops will endeavour to make death-related subjects more interesting, accessible and empowering for us all: Dr. Kate Grundy, Clinical Director of the Canterbury Integrated Palliative Care Services, conducts lectures and workshops on topics such as Advance Care Planning, motor neuron disease, end stage kidney disease and care of the dying.
Dr. Nicole Lindsay has researched Near Death Experiences and how this can change a person’s attitudes and beliefs about death; Ciaran Fox, a long-standing member of the NZ Mental Health Foundation and currently working on the award-winning All Right? programme supporting the psychosocial recovery and future flourishing of people in Canterbury following the earthquakes; Eva Mason helps individuals navigate life’s challenges and transitions through a process that clears unhelpful energies and restores balance, harmony and wellbeing; Sarah Carberry a Death Walker who established the Fare-Well Services Trust in the Marlborough Sounds, a charity which supports dying at home with care and dignity.
Michael Hempseed delivered an inspiring Ted Talk on overcoming failure and has since become a highly sought-after professional speaker on topics such as failure, mental illness and suicide prevention. He is also author of the book, Being A True Hero: Understanding and Preventing Suicide in Your Community. Funny and full of enthusiasm, Michael’s talks are always informative and engaging. Deborah Hercock has been a counsellor with the Nurse Maude palliative care service for over ten years and has recently moved into a spiritual care role, providing support and education for staff and interested groups on various issues including loss, grief and spirituality.
“I am not an academic nor do I have a background in health or death care. But I have had experiences of loss and death where I felt completely unprepared as to what to say and do. It made me feel awkward and frustrated at my lack of suitable language and understanding. So about 3 years ago I started the Christchurch Death Cafe. It’s a simple, conversational environment which encourages awareness and familiarity with all aspects of ageing, dying and death.”
“Death is the natural and sacred end of life,” says Zenith Virago, host of a three day ‘Death Walker’ workshop in Auckland in October. “One certainty every human will experience, yet something so unfamiliar. People need to learn how to be present, real and beneficial at a challenging time.”
Death Matters Workshops include:
- Advanced Care Planning
- Coffin Club
- Q&A on Understanding Suicide
- Q&A on NDEs (Near Death Experiences)
- Intentional Creativity to heal a grieving heart
- Death Café
Tickets and further information can be found at: www.deathmatters.nz. Choose your 2 preferred workshops after booking your ticket.