Skye's futurist author D J MacLennan - the first person in Scotland to arrange to be cryo-preserved at the point of death - is to help others come to terms with their mortality.
For the local man, whose book, ‘Frozen to Life: A personal mortality experiment’ has attracted UK wide debate and discussion, will be the guest speaker at an NHS Highland supported event next month
"Dying to Know" is aimed at breaking the silence around discussing death, dying and bereavement is intended to be a family event with a difference. Organisers want to encourage people to think about the practicalities of the final phase of their life – and to ensure they make their wishes clear about what they would like to have happen after they die.
The drop-in event, which will be held in Drumnadrochit on Saturday, 8th October, is being organised by NHS Highland community development officer, Kate MacLean, in association with High Life Highland.
Mrs MacLean explained: “In Scotland, 79% of people don’t have any written plans for their end of life care, financial wishes or funeral plans. We hope this event will raise awareness and provide information which may help people face up to mortality.
“In many cases, people are less prepared practically, emotionally or spiritually for death than they could be, and this can cause difficulties for them and those close to them for years.
“Dying to Know is aimed at people of all ages, to dispel unhelpful myths and fears and offer practical information about arrangements that can be made for death and dying.”
However, Mr Maclennan's has a very different approach to facing up to death. His presentation is expected to provoke discussion about whether death is really the end and the wider choices facing people and their families.
Mrs MacLean explained: “DJ MacLennan has decided to have his head preserved at ultra-low temperature (cryonics) with the intent to be restored to health when technology is available to do so."
This is the fourth year that Dying to Know has taken place and Mrs MacLean believes it has grown from strength to strength.
“It’s an even larger event this year with a range of local businesses and organisations taking part,” she explained. “They will address the practical, legal, emotional and medical aspects of preparations. There will be information stands, talks throughout the day and activities to stimulate curiosity and start conversations.”
There will be representation from Delliefure Natural Burial Ground and Naturally Useful wicker coffins from Moray as well as presentations from Lisa Law from Solicitors for Older People on wills and power of attorney and Susan Smith from Highland Hospice’s Helping Hands – a new end-of-life befriending service.