In this retreat we look at our lives thus far and we consider how we would wish our last days, or years, to be. The aim is that we all support each other as we explore these issues and share our emotions and experiences. There is the opportunity to join in the twice-daily worship of the community and there will be enough free time for personal reflection, rest, off-the-plan discussions or alternative activity to the work of the retreat.
Genesis of the retreat
The impulse to Anne and Daniel first offering this retreat last year was noticing in themselves that they are not getting any younger. In addition they have both had the privilege of accompanying their mothers at the end of their life and this has brought issues into focus as they tried to be part of enabling a “good death” to happen.
We are also aware of a growing movement in society at large to face up to death and to end of life questions and there is a wealth of thinking and resources available to help us as we seek out what might work for us.
We are alert to the importance and fascination of the metaphysical questions surrounding our deaths, and we may create a retreat to reflect solely on such matters (perhaps “When My Time Is Up Mark 2”) but for now we feel that focussing on the more practical questions concentrates our minds, revealing what our beliefs are and leading us to consider what our next steps are going to be.
It is easy, or tempting, to put these matters off, but actually our answers to these questions are needed by those around us and by those who will care for us and bury us, and they can support us in arriving at these answers.
How do I see my dying and what do I want in the dying phase of my life?
What balance do I want to strike between reducing pain and keeping my senses fully functioning? How do I view the different aspects of being “kept alive”?
How can I be considerate to my nearest and dearest, and how can they be considerate to me?
How important are strong and loving relationships to me as I move towards death and how can I build these up and maintain them?
Do I want to influence the way I am buried, the funeral arrangements and so on?
And there are wider questions which determine how our individual deaths work out in practise, such as what our rights are, how the view of the medical profession is evolving and how the growth of the hospice movement has fed into society’s understanding of end of life issues.
Resources (for instance practical guides about burial and writing living wills) will be available for participants to take away. We will also encourage participants to bring resources which they have found useful. In the same way, we plan to display poems, music, art for people to browse.
The end point is hopefully that we see more clearly what a “good death” might look like, both for ourselves, and for those close to us as well.
For further details or for a booking form contact us.
Or you can download a booking form here
All our retreats take place at the Community. The cooking is vegetarian – for more about this see here. For details about the accommodation see here. We are very fortunate indeed to enjoy a beautiful location – see here (one day we will set up a slide show . . . or maybe not, it might spoil the surprise.