Living legacies


​If you are going through hell – keep going!

Lynda Hannah is the director of Living Legacies:
One of the routes to Living Legacies was listening to people struggling with grief and blocks in their emotional healing. I heard so many stories about loss, including the deaths and funerals of their family members and how they could have been much better and healthier. I started to realise there was a great need that was rarely being met. In some people, it became a huge, gaping hole. ​ It was for a family-focused, personal and holistic approach to the subject of death, dying and funerals. For some people, it was simply permission to grieve. For others, it was a sense of participation and belonging and of contributing something worthwhile to a generally unpleasant process. For some, it was a need to leave this planet in a slightly better state than they found it. And for others, it was about simplicity; reclaiming the act of letting go of the body and life without too much pomp and ceremony.

Everyone has their own personal beliefs, values, and needs when it comes to dying and grieving. But, unfortunately, these unique aspects of each individual are often ignored or repressed. I believe that we have a right and a responsibility to express ourselves through how we live our lives. This includes how we let go of our lives – and each other – and move on.
My training (Central Institute of Technology, Wellington) is in humanistic-existential counselling, which is a rather silly way of saying that my particular interest is in the big questions of human existence. Why am I here? What is life? What is death? Is there anything more? What is the meaning of it all? What is my purpose? And, as a counsellor, I don’t offer answers, but I can help you explore your own thoughts, beliefs, feelings and values to discover a way through.
For some people, being confronted by a significant loss may be the first time they’ve felt the need to evaluate their own answers to these sorts of questions. Most people have some kind of concerns about death or, more commonly, about dying. Hence, it’s essential to have someone to talk to about them. I believe that the more prepared we humans are, the better we cope with the inevitable. We can’t change the fact that it’s going to happen. We can only change how we choose to deal with it.