18 May 2023

Sadmin, Death Cafés and Bill Nighy

By Miranda Marshall, Director, Hayes + Storr.

I have only recently come across the term ‘Sadmin’. This new portmanteau word means both putting ones own affairs in order and administering the estate of someone who has died. We should all do it; not just those with limited life expectancy or of a morbid disposition, as death is the only true certainly.

Lack of forward planning is worse where a person dies a traumatic death, as it is tragic and sudden which makes the grief much worse. We all have mental blocks but with care and the right professional support and advice ‘sadmin’ can be achievable.

Even the best prepared are often squeamish about making Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs). The young and middle-aged think they are only for the old, and many older people think they are only for those approaching death or dementia. Grasp the nettle and enjoy peace of mind!

I have been asked to be one of the speakers at a series of events titled ‘Death and Dying’ at Wells Maltings in June. The thinking behind the four events is that it is a practical and inspirational course to help people, and those close to them, to prepare for ‘the inevitable’. I have heard it described as ‘anticipatory grief’.

The organisers’ brief of the four Friday mornings course is to help people to get their affairs in order, and so reduce the burden on those left behind. Other speakers will discuss the dying process frankly, and the ‘hereafter’ (fully respecting all points of view). The intention is that the events will be informed by a wide range of real peoples’ experiences, with the aim of increasing comfort and reducing fear, as we head towards life’s final horizon.

The Death Café movement has been growing in numbers and influence in past years, undoubtedly hastened by the pandemic. The Maltings is to become Wells’ very own ‘pop up’ Death Café.

The movement started in Los Angeles (where else?). Their website says: “At a Death Cafe people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death. Our objective is to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives’.

This year’s movie ‘Living’ starring Bill Nighy is quietly moving and explores a private man’s reaction to a terminal diagnosis. This article is not the place to explore the themes of the film which come from a long pedigree starting with Tolstoy, via Japan. The 1950s British reticence to discuss ‘unpleasantness’ and the real fear of cancer made me realise how much most of us have moved on.

What happens next? – is a practical and inspirational course on death and dying, to help you, and your loved ones, prepare for the inevitable.

Held at Wells Maltings, 10.00am-12.30pm, on Friday 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd June, and led by Briony Bax and Lucinda Mackworth-Young MA, this four-morning course will help you get your affairs in order, and so reduce the burden on those left behind. Together with practical help from relevant professionals, there will also be opportunity for frank discussion about the dying process and hereafter (fully respecting all points of view), informed by a wide range of real peoples’ experiences, including that of the after-life.

The first half of the morning will cover practical affairs, with expert advice from professionals in the law and funeral direction, and the second half will address the dying process and beyond, with help from those in palliative care, and/or who have had first-hand experience, together with a range of resources -books, videos, websites. The aim is for us all to gain greater clarity and understanding, an increased sense of comfort and a reduction in fear as we head towards life’s final horizon. The cost is £95.

To book a place on the course call Lucinda Mackworth on 0785 091 2006 or email: lucinda.mackworth.young@gmail.com