Hello fellow mortals!
The story starts with the day my husband and I found his father dead in his house. By the time we realised why he wasn't answering his emails, he had been dead for eight days.
The trauma led to a horrendous bout of agoraphobia. I may or may not* have tried to get over it by going to a supermarket to buy a sandwich, where I lost my nerve and threw said sandwich before running home.
*NB I did. I did do that.
I don't believe Britain is a good place to be when trying to overcome a trauma involving death. We're too afraid of it. We avoid direct mention of it, we have no mourning period – we're just expected to go back to work – and when people started meeting up to talk about death in the form of "death cafes", that made the news. People openly discussing death makes HEADLINES in this country.
I used to live in Mexico, where, as most people know, they have an annual festival for the dead. I started researching other countries where they have death festivals - or "deathtivals" as I now call them. This little research expedition led to what is probably the opposite of agoraphobia:
I am travelling the world attending deathtivals. Seven of them. One for every day we didn't find Chris.
I realise I am a strange person to be writing a book about death. I am not old or terminally ill, and as the daughter-in-law of the person who kicked this off by dropping dead so unexpectedly, I am an outsider – and I have been told I have no right to even feel this loss. Writing as a "grief outsider" I do of course hope to heal what time can't, and maybe even understand why facing death makes some throw a party, and others throw a sandwich.