Today I’m delighted to introduce what I think is the first ever guest blog post here on The Snail of Happiness, written by my good friend Katie Shepherd about a project very close to my heart…
I am a palliative care nurse and permaculture designer with a spiritual self deeply rooted in Earth-based seasons and patterns. Issues relating to death and dying are intrinsic to most aspects of my life.
My experience of being with and working alongside dying people and their families is that the majority of people are pleased and relieved both to have the chance to talk about their fears around death and dying and to be supported through the process of making positive plans for the kind of death they would like.
My own observations of dying people and bereaved relatives are that those who have talked openly and honestly about death and dying – and who have planned for what they would like to happen when the time comes – tend to have a more peaceful, meaningful time at the end of their life.
Obviously, we cannot predict how, when and where we will die. But the likelihood of having the death that we want – which takes into account our needs and wishes and provides the right support for those around us – increases greatly if we make plans for it.
Most people in the UK die in acute hospitals, often having undergone procedures which are unnecessary and are wasteful of resources and human energy. Research consistently tells us that most people would actually prefer to die in their own homes, away from a busy acute medical environment. Such an environment is unnecessary anyway for the vast majority of people as they approach the end of their lives.
Creative Dying is the name of one of my permaculture designs that has gradually been evolving over the past 4 years. It’s a project about supporting people – at any time of their life – to plan and design the death they would like. Creative Dying is a solutions-focused response to some of the problems relating to how we die in the UK.
The ‘home’ of Creative Dying is a website and I use the permacultuture ethics, Fair Shares, Earth Care and People Care to set the scene and explain in more detail how the current way we die is often at odds with these ethics
The main topics in Creative Dying are
- Creative Resources – a frequently updated page with freely available ideas and resources to help people look at creating a plan for their own death.
- Permaculture Design and Creative Dying – A guided tour through The Design Web, a permaculture design process, and how it can help people create their own plan for the end of their life.
- Creating Your Own Plan – Additional Support – I offer coaching (either via Skype or in person) and workshops on any aspect of Creative Dying, plus
Creative Dying also has its own FaceBook page and Twitter Account (@creative_dying). Currently being launched is a blog and Facebook Creative Dying Group – both with the aim of encouraging online discussion about death and dying.
Creative Dying uses permaculture design at its centre and will appeal to the many people throughout the world already using permaculture to increase resilience and healing in other aspects of their life and work. It is aimed at anyone who would like to explore the creative, positive and unique approaches that we can take to considering the end of our lives and how we die.
Katie Shepherd is a Permaculture Designer and Practitioner
You can find out more about Creative Dying at: