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Viewpoint from Rev Helen Garrard 27/05/2022

HELEN GARRARD 05-2020Rev Helen Garrard
Lead Chaplain, Norfolk Community Health and Care
Associate Priest in the Rockland Benefice (Bramerton Group)


Bishop's Advisor for Healthcare Chaplaincy


In early May each year an event takes place called “Dying Matters”. It is held in many locations and provides an opportunity for people to come together and talk openly about death and dying. Representatives of various charities and companies who support death, dying, and bereavement are present, there are public talks on a variety of subjects and opportunities for open and honest conversation. Dying does indeed matter, so does living and it is important that we find a confidence to embrace both
dove leftAlmost exactly a year ago my father died and although he didn’t die of Covid his final months were certainly impacted by the isolation and change to many services which became familiar to us all. He had three and a half weeks in hospital during which he was not permitted any visitors even on his 93rd birthday- challenging times indeed which I am sure will have stirred many memories for you. Most if not all of us have been touched by loss in the last 2 years and even if we have not personally experienced bereavement, we have all borne witness to the scale of loss and most recently the ongoing tragedy of war in Ukraine and the resulting loss of Ukrainian and Russian lives. We welcome to our communities those seeking sanctuary and we extend compassion and comfort to all those who are bereaved
As well as being the month to reflect that dying matters May is equally a month to celebrate life; street parties and celebrations bringing us together to give thanks for the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Long days, short nights, rising temperatures, and a deepening blue in the sky all remind us of the approach of summer. Bright green leaves and ever-increasing depth and range in the colour of the hedgerows. Nature is proclaiming the joy of life and traditionally we begin to anticipate holidays and we hope for the rest that summer can bring. Many of the world’s religions offer a hope even greater than this; a hope beyond this life. A hope of eternal life; an enfolding in love and a reuniting with all who have gone before. This time of year reminds us of that cycle of life as we see its freshness emerge from the darkness of winter. Dying matters and so does living let us live each day to the full; filled with gratitude and compassion and in harmony with all that surrounds us



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