Miriam's Dead Good Adventure: "Talking about death definitely shares the load"
27th April 2019
In the past year or so there has been more radio, podcasts and TV focusing on death and dying than ever before. Anna Shutt, who coordinates LOROS's involvement in Dying Matters Week (13th-19th May), talked to Simon Draper, series producer of Miriam's Dead Good Adventure, about helping people tackle the greatest taboo.
What gave you the idea for the programme?
Like many people, Miriam was terrified of death. She's got a unique perspective but wanted to look at how others behave when faced with death. Ageing and dying is a subject she feels qualified to talk about - and she has a vested interest in finding out more about it. Miriam is really bright and asks the right questions. That's why she's so popular.
Did Miriam change her views on death?
Miriam was very moved by Tracey who was at a hospice in Glasgow. When she found out she was terminal, she moved to Scotland to be near her daughters and to plan for death. She was very open, comfortable talking about it and really let Miriam in on her journey. What Tracey showed us is that you can have time to plan, put your affairs in order and look after your family's emotional well being, but you can never really prepare for death - you just have to do the best you can and be pragmatic. It's about quality of life, enjoying every moment. Tracey's philosophy was enjoy the moment and Miriam was very affected by her.
Tracey was in a hospice - did that help her prepare?
Miriam always said 'the word hospice - it doesn't sound good', but actually they are really positive places. Very professional staff who are great at what they do, and they make the whole experience easier.
Dying Matters Week is all about talking about death - having made the programme is that something you and Miriam can see the need for?
Talking about fears around death definitely shares the load, and it helped Miriam start to overcome her worries. It seems obvious really - we plan for a wedding or a baby so why not death? Miriam joins a coffin club at one point and actually makes her own coffin -it's about taking control of your future which makes it all less fearful.
Having celebrities talking about death is really helpful as it sews the seeds for others to start the conversation too.
Yes, and Miriam is very funny too which helps - seeing the humour in the bleakest points of life. I think by the end Miriam realised that talking about death is important but it's also important to live a rich, full life - and she's certainly doing that!
Find out what LOROS has planned for Dying Matters Week at loros.co.uk/dyingmatters