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Showing posts from October, 2013

The grief that does not speak...

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       "There is no grief like the grief that does not speak" Longfellow Is grieving something that comes naturally or do we need to learn it? Maybe we all instinctively know what to do but something in our socialisation means we bury it away? It’s part of living of course but I wonder how often we really give it the time and space it needs.   A good friend was once trying hard to reassure me that, the fact my usually gentle golden retriever had just killed their family pet rabbit was really ok.  We got the rabbit to help the children learn about life and death and how to cope with that, she explained. I have long suspected it was more like an introduction to terrorism but it I tried to take comfort from her reassurance! And she is so right that one of our key roles as parents is to help our children learn how to do the hard stuff like grieving ,too. But grief is such an individual thing. I learned many years ago not to make assumptions. As a fairly you

pink ribbon blues.....

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I have tried-I really have- to resist the urge to write about "pinktober" but I'm giving in now. My fellows in the breast cancer community, especially in the US, have rightly stated their concerns about how the movement has at times been distorted. Understandably have challenged the pink ribbon and what it has seemed recently to represent ( or not), importantly shouted out about metastatic breast cancer and I have looked on with concern that I found hard to articulate. My own feelings are ambivalent and complex. The sharing again of the Scar project with its strap line of breast cancer is NOT a pink ribbon helped me begin to articulate my thoughts and feelings. What I notice is I have not, perhaps for this first time in nearly 20 years, worn a pink ribbon. I have worn at times a gold plated ribbon brooch for two reasons, one it complimented the red jacket it's on ( yes I am that shallow) and two it seemed to say with a bit more gravitas somehow

The way of truth and love.....

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This week I have been   moved by historic tales of awful times that shaped where we are now, by three separate stories in as many days of failed care and also by spending time with people whose life time work has been to enable healing in others in its truest sense. And all of these have made me think about our times. I sat in Pathhead halls in Kirkcaldy at a National Theatre of Scotland play entitled In Time of Strife. The play was written during the miners strike in 1926 in Fife to tell the story of that time, of those alienated communities , of the injustice and to raise funds for the soup kitchens that kept the people alive. I grew up in such a community and saw the impact of the miners strike of the 80s, so concerned by the situation that news bulletins punctuated our day. A new Mum at that time such was my engagement with the issues ,one of my sons first words was picket! This play resonated of those times and in many ways of now. The damage to all through ali

What transforms healthcare?

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Gastein in Austria is just beautiful, every view a potential chocolate box cover. The buildings even in October resplendent with geraniums, it is surrounded by impossibly green fields and they even have glamorous cows! Now Scotland has spectacular cows too but let's be honest they are usually up to their ankles and mud, I'm not sure that would be acceptable in Austria. So as a place to go to talk at a health event it may be a bit of a trip, but it was worth it. It was the European Health Forum and the Alliance was asked to speak on self-care. Sadly I couldn't attend it all but I did value the discussions I listened to and was part of. The report we were discussing at the session I spoke at was comparing 10 countries in Europe's attitude to self care and was fascinating. Perhaps what was most interesting was that people did recognise the importance of their role in self care but also that levels of confidence and health literacy were very low, affe