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Lucy was talking about turning 30 and having never seen a dead body or never seen anyone die: presumably her grandparents had died but she wasn’t there, she wasn’t invited, she wasn’t in direct contact.Whereas I have a really strong memory of watching my grandmother die when I was about 7 or 8.
Jo Bannon was the first to come to mind, partly because she’s brilliant and I adore her, partly because my experience of her work Dead Line was fraught and I’ve always wanted another conversation with her about it.
In her foreward to the first edition of Every One, published to coincide with the Royal Lyceum production in 2010, Jo Clifford wrote about a number of women living in proximity to death: herself following the death of her wife Susie, and her own experience of heart surgery; a friend whose mother had died; her mother-in-law, whose health was declining; a friend with incurable kidney failure.
Harrowing, you might think, but Jo demurs: “Closeness to death does not depress or frighten me.
I remember us sitting around her bed, and her breathing really fluctuating.
I hate using mystical language around death, because I don’t think it’s very helpful, but at the same time there was something about that experience that I can’t quite talk about.