Using lockdown productively for end of life planning

Dot Merriott on her wedding day in ’74

I’ve had a lovely connection with a Flinger over the past few weeks and I thought it worth sharing as a prompt to doing useful things with pockets of free time. If you are depressed by Coronavirus lockdown, feeling shackled by Covid-19 limitations, thinking more about end of life than usual, Dot’s tale might help.

Dot Merriott just reached the end of her first year using Final Fling. She had received a wee ‘birthday wishes’ message from me, hoping she was enjoying using the website. I always ask for feedback from users and invite them to share their story and what’s going on for them. Dot took the time to write back.

“When I retired from being a Primary Headteacher, my thoughts turned to what to do with my remaining life.

“I had taken difficult assemblies for pupils and staff who had died. So I applied to do a funeral celebrant’s course Green Fuse*. It was wonderful… 50 practical activities, lectures, discussion, assessed, of a high philosophical and loving standard.

“Then I realised, although this seemed the next step in my life, I’d met a marvellous man – David, and couldn’t dedicate many, sudden, deeply important days to funeral preparation and presentation. However I’ve been able to support friends before their death and friends of family friends and neighbours to plan their loved ones’ funerals.

“Also, I’m putting together music for my funeral… except this has morphed into TOO BIG. No-one will sit through 4 days of me. So I’m writing a “Who I Am”, through music that has mattered to me over the last 70 years. This is really for my two daughters. I’d like them to know who I think I am, rather than this person: stressed mother, being divorced, earning a tight living, heartbroken by their father’s departure to a younger, nother woman.

“As I’m stuck at home now because of the virus, I shall finish my “Styx Musix”, as described above and be glad that the virus isn’t decimating young children.

“So cheeriest flinging wishes, Dot Merriott”

Absolutely lovely.

Contributions like these make doing Fling worthwhile for me. There’s a Marie Kondo Magic of Tidying for end of life that I hope it allows, prompts, supports. I’ve never met anyone who’s had a go at end of life planning and hasn’t found it fun as well as revealing and insightful.

How to engage with end of life planning

The number one driver for people visiting Fling, continues to be people looking for funeral music tips. Just like Dot with her Desert Island disc approach to recalling her own story, music provides the theme tunes and memory grabs throughout life. One of the most profoundly moving things I’ve come across in the 10 years I’ve been doing this is the tale of music unlocking memory and the very essence of self and life in people who are otherwise lost to us. See Alive Inside.

Ideas for a reluctant planner

Take a look at these posts:

Now get on with it! Sign up for your FREE Final Fling account now then see our Welcome page for things to get going with. We have literally hundreds of blogs on the site so use the ‘search’ on each page to look for help. Also, check out the section the Death Movement to find lots of interesting stuff going on.

*Green Fuse are friends of Fling. We trained with them way back on Care of the Body and Funeral Arranging. Lovely team. They’ve built a great network and we highly recommend their training and ethos.

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