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News Release Issued by Dying Matters

Before I Die Festival

“I’m not afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens,” is Woody Allen’s famous quote. Death can be traumatic and terrible – on the other hand people can die peacefully and thankfully when their time comes. What is death all about and is it a good thing to talk about it and try to come to terms with what, after all, is going to be part of everyone’s life?

Last year’s Before I Die Festival filled a week with 40 events including death cafés, music to die for, funeral feasts, tours of the crematorium, debates on assisted dying, stories of trips to Dignitas in Switzerland, and information on making advanced decisions about end of life care.

This year the Festival is focussed on a single day – Saturday 23 May at the Friends Meeting House in Friargate. But, with renewed support from the University of York, the aim is the same – give people the chance to talk freely about their hopes and fears surrounding death and dying, provide support, advice and information, and a live show by the Real People Theatre held over from York International Women’s Week 2015, entitled EXIT, directed by Sue Lister (01904 488870).

From 10.30 am there will be a spiritual writing workshop and a session looking at how loss is part of life. In the afternoon there will be a death café, funeral planning advice, how to make advance decisions, and EXIT when eight women will share their poetry, stories and songs with the audience, look at the way different cultures mark the passing from one life to whatever lies beyond, and invite audience interaction and discussion of the issues. The feedback from previous performances was very positive and included the following:
“A really positive and moving experience. Thought provoking too. I felt very moved by people’s individual stories and loved the way audience participation was invited. Death is a part of life and needs to be treated so. You all had the courage to address an issue often denied.”

Here is a chance to break the taboo of silence surrounding death and dying. We’ve all got to face it sometime; this is an opportunity to get prepared as much as we can.

“Getting to grips with death helps us to value life so much more,” said Sue Lister who is a keen supporter of choices around dignity and compassion in end of life care.

Enquiries to Anne on 01482 633167 or Rachel on 01904 488122. Full programme details can be found on the Dying Matters website at .