Peoples stories

Let’s talk about living…

Lets Talk About Living is a campaign to get Birmingham talking about how we are living with serious illnesses and how we can work together as a community to lessen the isolation and anxiety felt by those facing death.

We are running workshops with people in hospices, nursing homes and hospitals to find out what is important to people who are living with dying. The stories are being shaped into films, theatre works, songs and poetry and dance performances. If you have a story you would like to tell, please email it to us. We will be publishing a book of selected stories in October. Anyone who submits a story will receive a free copy of the book.

Our Work

Your Stories

We invite you to submit any stories you have from families who are living life at its ending. We also invite you to accompany these stories with photographs of places that are significant to people and that represent how and where they would like to be remembered.

At the end of the year we will publish a book of some of the images and photos submitted. We will send a free copy of the book to everyone who has an entry in it.

To send a story simply email us. If you have any imagery, drawings or photos that are important to your story you can attach them as files. Here a a selection of recently submitted stories, the full collection can be found on The Big Conversation page.

As she lies dying

by Chris Rawlence

“In the summer of 2002, in my 57th year, I gaze into my mother’s eyes as she lies dying. They are partially open, the pupils highlighted by the window behind me, and as I speak to her I wonder if she is hearing me. The light in her eyes glints slightly, and perhaps I am seeing a slight movement in her eyelids as if she is trying to convey something to me. Might she be trying to say, I am very happy for you or, Oh Chap, how will you manage? A baby at your age? Aren’t three children enough? Because a few minutes ago, convinced that we were communicating, I wrote in pencil on a scrap of paper, we’re having another baby, and held it up for her to read.

Read the full story... about As she lies dying

Here I am

by Niamh Dowling

I went over to Belfast from the Thursday of the week before last and stayed with my mum in the Marie Curie hospice, sleeping on a seat bed in her room. I had asked her what her image was of the after life …. Did she believe in God …. What would happen after she died? She said she thought of it like going to a Grannies house she never knew and that she would come to the door and “here I am” and the Granny would let her in. And also that she could be an angel hovering over people and watching them.

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Mum

by Melanie Young

Mum became ill when she was 39 years old, i remember my first awareness of this, we had had a lovely day shopping. she bought a gold coloured top to wear . She was so beautiful, We came home and she tried it on to show my Grandma. She was so happy, i was so happy -then she fainted. i was 8yrs old. I thought she had died, i hadnt seen anyone faint before. I ran to the kitchen , as my grandma called an ambulance , and prayed as hard as i could for her to be alive. The ambulance took her away. Mum came home and was in hospital many many times for the next two years. Nobody really wanted to talk about it . I didnt know what was wrong with her , just that she was in a lot of pain, and used to cry every time she saw me.

Read the full story... about Mum

Mum and Dad

by Bob Leach

My Mum died last year in March, she had mixed dementia for around 5 years and naturally became increasingly confused. She remembered the names of our family members but anyone relatively new became nameless or dear. Her weight dropped and dropped over the years. Dad looked after her throughout her illness which was tough for him as they were both in their 80’s. Dad would say that “she is my responsibility, I married her and I’ll look after her”. Mum began to fall over indoors and Dad would call out the paramedics as he couldn’t manage to pick her up himself. The last time it happened she was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with lung cancer and died within 8 days. I was with her when she died. We had no idea she had lung cancer, we put her weight loss down to the progression of Dementia and didn’t give anything else a thought.

Read the full story... about Mum and Dad

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