There’s an elephant in the room at Willow Wood

BENJAMIN Franklin famously said “nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”, and although many a conversation can be had about taxes few of us like to talk about death.

Nicky Byrne with the Elephant in the Room

Willow Wood has decided to confront this issue by constructing their own ‘Elephant in the Room’.

It can also be very difficult to talk about death, whether you are facing your own mortality or that of a loved one.

Nicky Byrne, Willow Wood’s day services lead, said: “We see how hard it can be for patients and their families and friends to articulate their thoughts and feelings about something inevitable.

“It really is such a huge thing that’s being ignored – it’s a perfect example of an Elephant in the Room.

“So we decided to use this imagery and construct a papier mache elephant in our START Clinic arts and crafts sessions.

“The elephant is hollow and the perfect repository for anyone who wants to write down their feelings.

“It can be so much easier to do this than to speak about them, yet it can have the same benefit in that once feelings are out in the open we can start to work through them, and towards acceptance.”

The brightly coloured elephant stands in the day services lounge, and anyone can contribute their thoughts or read other messages.

Modelled on Elmo the patchwork elephant, many of the squares have the word ‘death’ written on in different languages.

Willow Wood’s START Clinic is open to those with life-limiting illnesses and you don’t need a medical referral. To find out more, ring 0161 330 1100 or go online:


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