Last week that is exactly what I did – spent the evening talking with Chris and Beth French about bereavement, the organisation that Beth runs, ‘Let’s Talk About Loss’ and preparing my sisters for when I have died. Reading that, you may have an image of glum faces and the evening permeated in sadness; but instead we had good, honest conversations punctuated with laughter in a room saturated in peace. It was a truly blessed time.
In December 2018 Beth and I met at the House of Lords, where we had both been short listed for the ‘Rising Star Award’ (she won it!) and since then we’ve met up in Bristol on one of my many clinic days. Earlier last week, she was featured on the BBC website talking about how awful bereavement cards can be, and launching some alternative cards with useful tips on what to write in the card.
But Beth and I have more in common than awards and a desire to break down taboos around death, dying and bereavement; we are both Christians and actively involved in our local churches. So we got on to talking about how churches can be better at supporting the bereaved and the tension between the very real pain of grief and the wonderful promises of heaven. In a way, Beth and I embody this dichotomy as she grieves for her mother and I can’t wait to go back to Jesus’ garden. As a body of believers we need to get better at holding both sides of this, as encapsulated in the story of Lazarus in the bible.