Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Passing

Another great chat in another caff today. I have been blessed with good conversations with strangers the latter days. Today I was thinking about people who die with no one present to witness their passing.

I learned how hard it is to access hospice services and thus many people have home care or palliative home care coming into their dwelling, but it’s entirely possibly the carers may be the people who find them.

It strikes me that there isn’t anyone born without someone to witness their birth because of the nature of birth. Death likewise — one’s exit — should somehow be witnessed and I was imagining the many circumstances in which someone’s passing may be an incidental act witnessed by no other. It seemed somehow terrible. Then I was trying to imagine the practicalities of some kind of volunteer force who would offer to witness the passing of someone who had no one and I became confused by how it could possibly work.

Allen King’s documentary Dying at Grace is a portrait of the approach to and the final moments of several individuals and they’re beautiful moments. Hard, beautiful moments.  And there was something so extraordinary about them being witnessed and recorded.

I am very confused as to why it’s so difficult to obtain that documentary or much of his work at video stores. He appears to have made a staggering contribution to documentary in this country — why this absence?

 

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