To Absent Friends is a people’s festival of storytelling and remembrance which is taking place this week. It aims to reignite traditions of remembering the dead as a way to support those who are experiencing grief and bereavement and to encourage greater openness about death and dying.

Everyone has a story to tell of someone who is dead who they miss; a grandparent who had a fascinating life; a friend with a unique sense of humour; a child who loved to dance. A person’s death does not lessen the meaning of the relationship we have with them but our culture doesn’t really support active remembrance of dead people. Very often it causes discomfort or embarrassment. In a culture where death is seen as being too morbid, too difficult or too disturbing to mention, how do we remember and pay our respects to the dead?

Public events are taking place across Scotland and people can also get involved via the To Absent Friends website and on social media.    

A major part of To Absent Friends is the opportunity for individuals and groups to offer their own personal reminiscences, either privately or by sharing with others and people are encouraged to get involved in any way they can. Based on the ancient Celtic tradition of Samhain, you can gather people together for dinner, share stories and photos of absent friends and maybe even raise a toast.

If you don’t like the idea of something formal why not just take some time to remember all the things that made your special absent person the unique individual that they were, and will always be, in your heart.