Monday 14 November 2011

Photos By Eileen Rafferty And A New Venture For Me

A Graceful Death Exhibition
St Martin in the Bull Ring, Birmingham B5 5BB

Friday 4 November - Tuesday 29 November

Open Daily
Come and write your piece in the Memory Book in the exhibition.  Write about you, write in poetry or prose.  Say what you want.  Tell us about who you remember.
These are some photos for you by Eileen Rafferty who has written of the exhibition in her excellent blog Photosynthesis - .   
Steve in shadow, taken by Eileen as the sun was slowly setting.

The paintings of Stuart and his wife Sue Pryde.  Sue killed herself in 2008 and this is an important work and comment on Sue's suicide.  Written in the three smaller paintings are extracts from Sue's writings, her suicide note to the police (not her suicide note to Stuart) and her letter to Stuart on their wedding day.  Sue is deeply missed and mourned by her husband and her friends.

We are very lucky indeed to have the services of Penny Hewlett, poet in residence at St Martin in the Bull Ring.  Penny is taking poetry workshops on themes taken from the exhibition.  These are a couple of photos from her first workshop.

Penny talking to a very interesting lady from her first workshop, on the subject of Facing Loss.

The same lady working on exercises in writing and thinking that Penny had set.

 These are the hands of a poet, Jenna Plewes who has written the poem on death below.  I am using this and at least two other poems of Jenna's for the exhibition.  Jenna is a warm, intelligent lady who's hands Eileen has captured in her usual excellent way.


 Spring sunshine brings the beech leaves
to a simmering mouthwatering greenness
and the bluebells beneath are a long cool drink of blue.
I walk carefully, but leave a bruised path,
and so I stop, and let the blue green day sift down around me.
Inside a voice says “hold on to this, remember this,
remember this when the busy world reclaims you,
see still in your mind’s eye the blue  and the green,
and the gentle sky.

Tomorrow I go to Dorset to start my training as a Soul Midwife with Felicity Warner.

I will be starting something that I am very keen to do.  Until I start learning about it, I am reluctant to say very much.  I am not trained to do anything professionally.  I am not a medic, I am not a counsellor, I am not even trained as an artist.  I know that I can help people who are dying, and I want to learn how to do it.  As far as I can see, a Soul Midwife provides emotional and spiritual support for those who are dying, whether at the time of diagnosis or later on.  A Soul Midwife will walk alongside someone at the end of their lives, helping to make the experience as easy as possible.  I will learn how to listen, comfort, discuss, do things, and when the time comes if requested, to be present as they die.   I will work alongside doctors and nurses, counsellors and other trained professionals, to make the experience of the end of life as good and peaceful as possible.

More on this as I do it.
In the meantime, please go to St Martin in the Bull Ring and witness the A Graceful Death exhibition. Penny's final workshop will take place during the closing ceremony of the exhbition on Tuesday 29 November, at 2pm.  The title of the workshop will be Moving On.  I will be there and am looking forward to doing another of Penny's moving and uplifting poetry workshops.  I hope to see you there too.

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