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Passion for Birth
Published 7th May 2015

Sheila Kitzinger died calmly on the evening of 11 April 2015
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May 7th: Sheila's daughters talk on Women's Hour about Sheila's death and the impact of her life and work

May 19th: Jenny Kitzinger writes in The Conversation: Dying matters. Thats why we must listen to patients' wishes
6 pm to 8 pm RCOG 27 Sussex Place NW1 4RG

8th June in London

Last year, Sheila was diagnosed with cancer. After some initial investigation and treatments, she recovered well enough to finish her autobiography A Passion for Birth. When the illness returned, she decided not to have further investigations.

Sheila approached death with the same attitude as she did birth - questioning the need for various medical interventions and making her own choices. Just as she believed in thinking about what you would want while giving birth, she also believed in the value of thinking in advance about dying - and making plans. 

Sheila set down her wishes in an Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment and gave one of her daughters power to represent her (Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare) should she lose the capacity to take decisions for herself.  She specifically refused further admission to hospital.

Sheila was cared for at home, as she wished, and that is where she died. On the 12th of April her family carried her body in the brightly decorated cardboard coffin she had requested to a natural burial site for a small private ceremony. We read some of Sheila's own poetry at the graveside and scattered the coffin with earth, sprigs of rosemary and camellia blossom from our lovely garden.

We know that many friends, colleagues, and others whose lives she touched, will want to join us in remembering and celebrating her. We hope to arrange a memorial event some time later this year.

In the meantime, thank you for all your kind messages of support for our family, and the powerful testimonies you are sending about the value of Sheila's work and life.

As Sheila wrote in one of her own poems:

After the soaring, a peace
like swans settling on the lake
After the tumult and the roaring winds,


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