Elizabeth Bishop knew loss and experienced it from an early age. Her father died when she was an infant, and her mother institutionalised when she was five. Later in her life, Elizabeth lost her spouse to suicide. If there was one thing she was familiar with, it was definitely the feeling of loss. In her poem ‘One Art’, she shares with us how she struggles with loss.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
The poem attempts to convince herself and us that all losses are the same in fact, some things like keys insist on being lost. All losses the poem urges should be treated as equal and manageable. We should ‘just’ get over grief in the same way we get over losing a pen or a watch.
Alas, if only it were that simple…
Our response to loss is the whole point of the poem, how we rank losses against each other, a friendship, a future, which is more important? Loss is universal. Elizabeth Bishop simply wrote about what we all feel. When we grieve, we want to master the art of losing. It’s just not that easy. Elizabeth Bishop knew that as well as we do.
It is with this poem in mind the Irish Hospice Foundation took inspiration for their biannual conference (this year completely online) Forum 21, the art of losing, and building back better.
Little did we know on that fateful day in March 2019 what was ahead of us? We did not know the losses we would face as individuals and as a society.
At Forum 21 Irish Hospice Foundation will share the stories of people who worked through the pandemic. What did they learn?, where did we thrive? What can we do better?, How can we use these lessons to help us build a new future?
Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive director of the World Health Organisation’s Health Emergencies Programme, will open Forum 21 and will share his reflections on the past eighteen months, what has he learned, what gives him hope and how the world can move forward into recovery.
Forum 21 will create a safe space for us to examine our relationship with dying, death and bereavement during its 2 days.
Here is a quick look at what you can expect from this year’s event:
Day one Tuesday 5th October 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. will challenge our thinking about dying.
Day one will look at the way we care for people at the end of life, what is new, what is innovative, and what every single one of us should know about understanding and planning for end of life.
Day two, Wednesday 6th October, we concentrate on grief, bereavement, and coping with loss, and we will learn from those who are personally and professionally engaged in these matters.
Over the two days of Forum 21, our speakers will include.
- Dr. Mike Ryan from the World Health Organisation.
- TED Talker, BAFTA nominated author; Kevin Toolis.
- Palliative Care Doctors and End of Life Coordinators.
- The Bereaved Dad’s Breakfast Club.
- Funeral Directors and Disrupters.
- Geriatricians and advocates for older people.
- IHF (Irish Hospice Foundation) grief and bereavement experts, including Grief at Work, and the Bereavement Pyramid.
Dying, death and bereavement affect everyone. If you are professional or public, directly affected or curious, come spend some time in generous company to be better prepared (for what is as inevitable as the sunset.)
Irish Hospice Foundation’s expertise supports people at end of life, in grief and in their professional practice. Irish Hospice Foundation provides training, awareness, campaigning, and innovation. We work closely across Government and with services like the HSE and residential care centres to ensure that wherever you are, you deserve a good death.
Tuesday October 4th and Wednesday October 5th
Both days are online. Sessions run 11am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm. Opportunities for socialising and professional engagement run all day both days.
Irish Hospice Foundation has given Senior Times readers a special discount code to buy tickets at a discounted rate of 25 euro for the two days rather than 35 euro, use this link to buy tickets today
More information on Forum can be found on the Irish Hospice Website