As for so many people, last year was a strange one for me. There were some significant achievements. For instance, I started my masters course in End of Life Studies at Glasgow University and it has gone very well. It’s hard work and takes up a lot of my time but I have enjoyed studying and being able to examine complicated, and often contentious, moral and ethical issues like assisted dying in a calm and considered way.

But last year also saw me having to step into the role of carer when my mum fell and broke her hip. Inevitably that’s had a big impact on my life and for a while I had to cut back on my funeral celebrant work. Nevertheless I managed to conduct a lot of, I hope, very meaningful ceremonies including some online Zoom memorials (one especially poignant one for my dear friend Bryan who had died right at the start of the pandemic).

And of course, COVID had affected me like everyone else. Though I did manage to have a lovely road (and sea!) trip away to visit my friends in Ireland.

Anyway, the new year has started and I am finding renewed energy. My university term has started, meaning that I’m now half way through the taught part of the degree. I have several funerals to prepare this week, including an online one. And my mum continues to regain mobility and independence. So despite all the difficulties and the often depressing news, I am feeling more optimistic for 2022. Happy New Year!

Michael Hannah, Dundee, January 2022


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