2017. A dull September day. A day that changed my life. My mother lay asleep in the hospice. She was dying slowly but not quite ready to let go. I was in the land of the dying where the nurses and volunteers in the hospice were calm and caring. To me they seemed like angels and I felt as though I was in a place more sacred than any church. I waited all morning in a kind of tranquil limbo hoping to connect with my mother.
At lunchtime I went to the shopping centre to get something to eat in a nearby department store canteen. I chose a sandwich and a cup of tea. Then I noticed the cashier. It was as though all the life had been drained out of her. She was on auto-pilot. She was probably in her forties but to me she looked as though she had died a long time ago.
I sat down and as I ate my sandwich I looked around the canteen and what I saw was quite shocking. The awful reality of our consumer culture hit me. There was no soul here. No humanity. Just functional efficiency and bleak transactions. The staff and the customers in the canteen all looked like extras in a zombie film. There was neither life not death in the shopping centre. Just the undead.
I wanted to get back to the love and compassion in the hospice - where life and death were acknowledged. Where people were valued no matter what state they were in.
7 AGES CIC is a consciousness raising community providing leadership workshops, meetings and talks. https://www.7ages.org/workshops