Following an enjoyable and intriguing meeting with attendees of the annual festival of Death and Dying in Somerset. Not everyone’s idea of a fun weekend, but it was raining and some of us don’t much care for shopping trips. Death doulahs, artists, the newly bereaved, health professionals and the broadly curious rubbed shoulders to explore human mortality from as many angles as can be imagined. My slot occupied almost two hours, and to be honest I felt that there were many areas we had barely touched on. Most fascinating to me were the uncanny childhood and young adult experiences volunteered by some of the attendees; I don’t feel I have the right to tell these stories of others, so I will just say that I hope we are entering an era where we feel more free to disclose, share and ponder such extraordinary experiences.
One such tale was told to me by Bob Fischer on his BBC Tees radio programme a couple of nights ago. Bob is a cultural omnivore, who moves effortlessly from discussing kids TV theme tunes to describing Plato’s theory of essences. His account of meeting in a dream his very dear friend who had died was both touching and funny. Bob asked his friend if seeing as he had been able to visit him temporarily that night, couldn’t he just return on a permanent basis. I think Bob’s mate was half-amused by the question. “Ahhh, you’ll find out, but it doesn’t really work like that,” he answered. He’d been given special leave of absence just to make this one vital reappearance.
The whole interview can be accessed for the next three weeks at
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07qjgwq The interview begins at 2.06.40