Jimmy’s good death

Bric-a-brac stall, Sneinton Market, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, c1950. Artist: Edgar LloydFriend of Final Fling, Jimmy Stewart, is interested in achieving a good death. He became interested in knowing more about the rules and options around end of life after watching his mum die. He’s one of a growing band of us actively interested in managing our options.

We first met Jimmy when he came to our Final Fling Trade School Event and he’s coming to our next Death Cafe. Jimmy wanted to share what has made him interested in life and death decisions…

“In the year 2000 my mother died. She spent the last year of her life happy under the care of the Little Sisters in their nursing home. Sadly my mother was taken from her happy environment to die in a noisy ward in a hospital. Before her death I was asked by a doctor if I wanted to have CPR applied to my mother when she was passing away? I said no, that my mother was 83 years old, she had dementia, she had led a happy life. I felt it was kinder to let nature take its course with my mother. (I now have a living will. If I am in a vegetative-state state I do not want to be kept alive by artificial means. I wear a DNR – Do Not Resuscitate – wrist band.)

“I was with my mother as she died, I felt her pulse quicken. I said this to the nun who was with us. “Your mother is passing away now” she said. The beat of my mother’s pulse stopped, she was dead.

“My mother’s body was returned to the Little Sisters nursing home. She was placed in a nice, bright, cold mortuary. I have wondered why she could not have died under the care of the Little Sisters. I sure my mother would have been happier.

“Then I had the meeting with the undertaker who asked me what coffin I wished for my mother. He looked surprised when I said the cheapest. How did I want my mother dressed? “What she’s wearing” I said. (She was wearing a shroud.) He told me she would need to be embalmed. I thought “that’s strange”. Mother was in a cold mortuary. But he is the expert. So I paid for embalming. I since found out this was an unnecessary expense.

“Since then I saw a BBC documentary about DIY funerals. I thought that is what I want.”


Thanks to Jimmy for sharing this. This is how it goes for most Final Flingers. A profound, often quiet, unnoticed moment when something switches, life changes – literally. The ‘quickening’ of death often causing and awakening in us. Wakening up to the reality of mortality is one step. Beginning to understand the decisions that you or others will have to take is another. Hopefully all the information you need to support thinking and planning is on this blog. Here are some pointers:

Keep track of your Wishes in your free Life Planning Tools and start sorting your paperwork in the Safe Deposit Box.


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