I ordered my own coffin in 2012. I hadn’t realised I was joining a global revolution. It turns out, on the other side of the globe, in 2011, a group of active retirees in New Zealand began to happily meet up at the Coffin Club. They make friends, have a laugh and handcraft their own […]
I live my life as a Humanist and get my spiritual highs from nature, loving relationships and the joy of being human, with all our frailties. I don’t feel any loss as a result of not having a religious practice. That is, until recently, when I came across something for the first time that I […]
We had a family Final Fling this month – a fond farewell. A good goodbye. It really was a wonderful celebration of a life well-lived. After all the years I’ve been encouraging others to plan ahead, it really was a joy to be delivering a funeral that had been thought-through and owned – by the […]
Friend of Fling, Ailsa, shared a lovely idea for remembering and we think it could help in the space of loss and remembering without burdening. Let’s say, we think it has legs… It can be a challenge sorting through the remains of a life. What to keep; what to let go. It can feel painful not to keep everything… as if […]
Scottish Government is introducing a statutory Code of Practice, an inspection programme and a licensing scheme for funeral businesses as part of a regulatory framework to ensure high standards of service. They’ll be working on implementation over 2019/20. In their consultation and investigation they drew an interesting parallel comparing the funeral parlour business model and […]
If you’ve been watching BBC’s Years and Years– a near-future view of our world – you may have seen the funeral in episode 3 where the chat goes (to paraphrase) ‘this isn’t a normal crematorium you know, it’s an aquatorium’. Fire or water? Turns out, given the option, 80% of people asked would choose water cremation […]
It was a privilege this weekend to be invited up on the stage at the Scottish Funeral Awards 2019 to hand out shiny trophies to honour great work going on across Scotland. 22 different categories celebrated the work of funeral directors north, south, east and west along with all the essentials that we associate with […]
I was delighted to take part in a panel discussion during the Edinburgh Festival this week chaired by Alex Mascolo on the publication of her research into how women are working to create a more death-literate Scotland. 30-40 people joined us and the chat was much like a death cafe… wide-ranging, open, quickly deep and […]
On Friday 2 August, it was judgement day for Scotland’s funeral industry – literally. A team of judges were locked in a city centre hotel room throughout the long, hot, sunshine-filled day, pouring over piles of anonymised paperwork to debate views and arrive at decisions for the new Scottish Funeral Awards 2019. It was heads […]
Our chums at Good Life Good Death Good Grief have another year’s death inspired programme coming up at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Top of the pile for me, on 5 August is doctor/writer Kathryn Mannix, sharing her wisdom with readings from her book With The End in Mind. If you ever wanted comfort that you […]
This week, Perthshire school teacher Richard Selley called on the Scottish Parliament to move towards legalising assisted dying. Richard is living with Motor Neurone Disease or MND. There’s no way back for him. Like others in his shoes, he’s making plans to travel to Dignitas in Switzerland to take what little control he can and […]
Scottish Government is carrying out a consultation on funerals to try to tighten up on behaviours and standards in the industry. Responses are invited by 20 September 2019. The Government team invited views from funeral directors and others associated with funerals as a kicking off point and have come up with a draft Code of […]
It’s always a moment of joy for me when I see a note from my friends Sue Gill and Gilly Adams that they have another Rites of Passage school coming up. And every time, I want to go play again. I trained with Sue and Gilly back in the day when rites of passage were […]
Our lovely friends Jimmy Edmonds and Jane Harris are going from strength to strength with their inspiring Good Grief project. Jimmy and Jane have produced a film A Love That Never Dies to help share experiences of what it is to lose a child. At their recent screening of the film in Preston, they had […]
This week, my friend Rebecca shares a surprising, delighting moment at a recent family funeral – to come across an Order of Service recipe. “Pat Mills, died at the end of last year and in my family, that officially marks the End of an Era. Pat and Bunty were legends. They were distant cousins of ours – […]
Are you aware of the new Funeral Expense Assistance benefit being introduced in Scotland? It’s part of new Social Security changes. Shortened to FEA benefit, this was put before the Scottish Parliament on 18 February 2019 and it’s due to launch in summer 2019, replacing the current Funeral Expenses Payment. Here’s what Scottish Government tell us about the new benefit. “Arranging […]
So… have you been caught up in the new-year-new-me frenzy created Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, The Magic of Tidying. If so, maybe, like me, you’ve found yourself folding t-shirts into small little stand-up packages and enjoying every minute of your new-found control, discipline and mindfulness.
What’s the connection between Day of the Dead, Hallowe’en and death?
Day of the Dead is a Mexican festival to remember and celebrate our loved and lost. Making offerings at shrines, grave tending, sharing food and storytelling are all part of the ritual, designed to help heal and remember. Hallowe’en is
So this week I’ve been contacted by a TV production company who are researching whether there’s programme potential in the subject of match-making for a terminal partner.
I’m writing a funeral today and thinking about suicide, the funeral eulogy and breaking the silence.