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Saturday 31 March 2018

Are you living or visiting San Fran in April??

Death—a truly universal topic—is the focus of more than 100 unique events happening in every corner of San Francisco this April (which is tomorrow!)

Reimagine, a nonprofit inspired by OpenIDEO's End of Life Challenge has partnered with the City of San Francisco via the Department of Aging and Adult Services and the
Palliative Care Work Group to present Reimagine End of Life, a full week of exploring
big questions about life and death through creativity and conversation. 

From April 16 to 22, more than 100 collaborators will produce experiences, workshops, and
performances designed to spark public discussion and connection. Details and tickets
are available at or by calling (415) 329-6911.

“Reimagine convenes public conversations that transform our approach to life.
Everyone, irrespective of culture and background, is encouraged to reflect on why we’re
here, prepare for a time when we won’t be, and design what it means for us to live fully
right up until the end,” said Brad Wolfe, founder and executive director of Reimagine.
“More than 2,500 people attended 30 events during our first Reimagine week in 2016,
so we are expecting 7,000 this year. We want to connect the entire community with
life’s universal truth.”

Drawing on the arts, spirituality, healthcare, and design, Reimagine End of Life is
intended to break down taboos and bring diverse communities together in wonder,
preparation and remembrance. Events will be hosted throughout the week by a wide
variety of local organizations and individuals, from physicians performing personal
stories of their own experiences with death to music and comedy shows about mortality,
to a remembrance ceremony for the environment on the eve of Earth Day.

During the weekend prior to Reimagine End of Life, spiritual leaders across San
Francisco will participate in a “Conversation Sabbath,” speaking to their congregations
about death and encouraging involvement in Reimagine week events, especially the
numerous Advance Care Planning Workshops. More than 25 churches, community
organizations and libraries will host these free workshops to help residents plan their
end-of-life care and complete healthcare directives.

Friday 30 March 2018

'Let the pink fluff and sparkles break through’

"But they say that all things happen for a reason. I don’t want to go looking over my shoulder or waving my fist in anger. That was never my style. But the truth of the matter is this: I would never have wanted to go, there would never have been enough time so I am trying to be gracious about it.

I know it is practically illegal to champion all things pink in this all bustling world where being girlie can be mistaken for being stupid. But I would like to be remembered as somebody who believes that fairies live at the bottom of the garden, that unicorns exist but they are simply shy and that angels flutter on all of our shoulders.

There is enough gray in the world already. Let the pink fluff and sparkles breakthrough. There’s enough sadness, suffering, and strife. Let the laughter be heard.

Farewell. Look after each other. Be kind. Be happy. Be grateful. And most of all, be yourself.

Life is short. It is so very, very precious and it’s not a dress rehearsal. So enjoy; eat chocolate, drink strong coffee, have a fabulous glass of wine and buy those clothes; walk in those high heels and let the world know that you are here to work hard and to play even harder."

These were the final words of Irish Author Emma Hannigan. These were the words she wanted to tell the world herself but she knew she would not be around to say them as they were to be spoken at her funeral.

I posted these words across all of my social media channels when she passed away a few weeks ago. A tragic and too soon end to such a vibrant soul. I didn't know Emma but in her final words, I feel like she knew me, or my soul at least. These are words to live by. No wonder she was such a wonderful author. Rest in sparkles Emma, wherever you are. x

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Interview Clive Anderson

Clive Anderson has been living in the US for the last 14 years. He is an Irish native from Co Cork who now lives and works just 25 minutes from Times Square in New York City.

He is the owner of Pelham Funeral Home and has been a funeral director and embalmer for over fifteen years. He wasn’t born into the business as many funeral directors are but rather Clive feels as though he was ‘called’ into the service. The moment occuring when Clive lost his father to cancer. His experience of the funeral profession stimulated his desire to help others.

He got his experience in Ireland, initially with Jeremiah O’ Connor & Sons Funeral Home in Co. Cork before immigrating to the United States to get formal training in the funeral profession and working as a funeral service consultant for Matthews International.

Clive believes the Irish deal with death very well, as he said “the whole community stops, Irish Weddings are optional, Funerals are compulsory”. He thinks the American funeral industry has gotten quite commercial and has “forgotten the old ways” of respecting the body. He mentioned the animal kingdom and how animals grieve a loss and that it is a part of the process we should all embrace. He believes spending time with and looking after the body is both respectful of a life lived and a natural part of the grieving process.

Notable funerals that he has had the opportunity to plan included a thrice Powerball (similar to the Lotto) winner and an old Irish man who was homeless and passed away on the streets. He strives to make each funeral unique and special and include as many personal touches to the service as possible and this can include photos of the deceased placed all around the funeral home, their favorite music playing, smells filling the rooms, flags flying and a guest book for all who arrive to sign.

The recipient of several awards, Clive has been recognized by Irish Newspaper, The Irish Echo “40 under 40” for his contributions to the Irish community in the US and was also an aide to the Grand-Marshal of the Irish Business Organization on St Patrick’s Day In NYC. He was honored by the Irish Aisling Center in New York in September 2017.