Life, Death and Grief Lecture
Review of Louise Winter’s visit, by Petra (DG/Year 12)
‘When we avoid difficult conversations, we trade short term discomfort for long term dysfunction’ (Peter Bromberg)
Louise Winter, progressive funeral director and founder of Poetic Endings, author of ‘We All Know How This Ends’, visited our school on the 18 of May. She attended a supper with a few students before delivering a Ridley Lecture in the chapel about grief, funerals and the D word – death.
Louise spoke about the complex processes of directing a funeral business. Located in South East London, Poetic Endings serves a diverse array of clients. Ms Winter talked about one funeral she organised for a 19 year old Iranian girl, where she worked in tandem with the family’s Imam. Together, they blended Islamic and secular traditions in order to include the needs of a traditional family and diverse group of friends who came together for her funeral.
The talk and subsequent Q and A were extremely interesting and thought provoking. One lesson I learned was the importance of sensitively using direct language such as ‘died’ as opposed to euphemistic phrases like ‘passed’ or ‘gone to sleep’, as the bereaved need to be able to speak honestly about what has happened to them.
The school chaplains Father Huxley-Jones and Reverend Ball were also in attendance to offer their expert support for students coping with bereavements. Following her visit Louise posted on social media to remark on the many caring CH students who came to ask how best to support their grieving friends.