It was the week before Christmas. Whilst everyone else was getting ready for the festive season, scoffing mince pies and adorning themselves in Christmas jumpers and cheap sparkly tinsel, we were sitting in an NHS consulting room watching and feeling the bottom fall out of our world. Our picture perfect future crumbling into dust.
Mum died on Friday. She had a 'good death'. Those in palliative medicine define a 'good death' as one where the dying person is symptom free, in the place they want to be, with the people they want to be with. Mum died symptom free, in our lounge, with Dad by her side. Saying 'Mum died' might seem blunt to some, but that's what happened. Mum worked in palliative medicine all of her life and as a family we've always spoken about death and end of life care openly and honestly, so it seems only appropriate that we continue that when discussing Mum's death.
This year will be the eleventh 'Dia de los Muertos' that I have experienced in Mexico. This festival, which honours the dead on the first two days of November, held me captive the very first time I witnessed it. I was attracted not only to the bold imagery offered but also to the spirit of remembering the dead in a respectfully celebratory manner.
Some people can't resist the strong taste of coffee in the morning or the tender smell of a Yankee candle in the evening. We all come into contact with hot substances on a daily basis. However, it is estimated that over 121,000 people are seen by burns services and emergency departments each year...