Rebecca had mentioned last year that they were keen to have someone give a talk on 'A Good Death' or something similar, when TEDx came to Southampton in May 2018.
She mentioned in a way that implied she may ask me.
At the time, although flattered she may even consider me, I sent an email to several colleagues asking who may like to do this. There was little response.
So, when Rebecca asked me properly, I didn't really give her a direct answer for some time.
Because I thought that others knew more than me, were cleverer and could do it better.
On the next request, I asked 'Why me?' (Oh, that question!!)..she explained that it was because I had helped organise some local Community Events, around Death & Dying,which I had done before, and was just begining to plan this Autumns' 'Dead Good Days 2018'.
So I think I blurted out a 'Yes' and then spent a lot of time watching Ted Talks by very eloquent speakers which then had me thinking I was completely mad (and so was Rebecca)
Then I realised I had a lot of years of experience within Palliative Care, and had also 'strayed' into another world of Death & Dying, outside of the usual Medical & Nursing one - one that expanded my horizons & had me seeking out new knowledge to share with patients, families & colleagues. One where I learnt that you can care for the dead person in your own home (and who can support you in this) , that you can buy or make a coffin yourself and customise it, that you don't need to use Funeral Directors and you can book a double slot at the Crematorium. I met Rosie from The Natural Death Centre & often direct people with questions to her (even better that I know she is answering the phone tucked away in her Nuclear Bunker in Twyford!), and Cara and her colleagues from an amazing all woman team at Arka Funerals - who I refer to in this talk, who helped us with both mum and dads' funerals.(Mums coffin was a beach scene and dads Brighton and Hove Albion - he would have laughed at us painting those damn straight stripes on it! I have been to Death Chat Cafes and facilitated a couple, I have been inspired by Soul Midwives and End of Life Doulas and this year we have bought tickets to an interesting weekend in Bournemoth for The Good Funeral Awards in September.
So, back to Ted - it is obvious now that I did get through it, the best advice backstage was from Kate 'This isn't about you Deb, it's your message' Of course..so, despite the fact that there will always be things you could have added / changed, when a couple came up to me afterwards, and he said to me 'Thank you - I am going to see my elderly mother tomorrow, and we haven't talked about anything - but we need to, and I will start that conversation now',
I was pleased I had said yes. If you get a chance to spread the word about something you feel strongly about - go for it!