18. Sep, 2017

 I came across this really interesting article online the other day. It is about pre paid funeral plans or pre needs if your from the States? I've sold a few pre paid funeral plans in my time and I know of plenty of funeral directors who offer this service to their clients. There are all kinds of different plans availible. Some funeral homes have their own plan structure in place, where as others will sell plans that have been designed and are managed by outside companies.  

I guess if you are unsure about a pre paid plan then I'd advise putting the money aside in a high interest account or a premium bond and leaving it there until its needed. Make it noted in your will that it is there along with any instructions for your funeral. You don't have to pay an expensive lawyer to do this inform your next of kin and make sure your wishes are written down. I should stress that I am in no way qualified in the financial sector and this is just what I would do personally personally. You have to do what is right for you. If that means taking out a pre paid funeral plan then go for it.

18. Sep, 2017

I attended my first Death Cafe last Thursday eveinig at Cox and Baloney in Bristol. I am delighted to say it was absolutely brilliant and I enjoyed every minute of it. Such an eclectic mix of people there who all had their own story to tell about their experiences with death, dying and funerals. It did live up to everything I expected it to be which was brilliant. 

It was really refreshing to hear other people's take on things. I think we can all too often get trapped in our own way of dealing with death so it's beneficial I think to get another perspective on it. Death cafes are not sad or depressing events, they are quite the opposite in fact. Over tea and cake no subject is off limits providing of course it is to do with death and dying. Everyone gets to have their turn to speak and share their story with the rest of the group. Death is such an important part of life as it is the one thing we can all be certain of, so therefore it is better to be open and honest about the subject because when it happens and it can happen at anytime we are better prepared for it.

I met some really interesting people, a couple who I already knew through work. Its is quite clear to see how this has taken off and become literally the worldwide success that it is. I look forward to attending a second death cafe. Next time with me at the helm hopefully?

28. Aug, 2017

Dressing the dead is a perfectly normal and natural part of the death care process. People have been dressing their dead for thousands of years. It happens routinely on a daily basis in almost every funeral home in the world. This process used to be performed by families. Where they would wash and dress or shroud the deceased in perpetration for burial. This does not seem to happen as much as it used to anymore. Instead we employ professional undertakers to do it for us. There nothing wrong with that of course but it does highlight how afraid we have become of death and how aware we are of our own mortalities. 

Occasionally when I attend a first call the deceased will have been washed and dressed by either the family or members of the care home staff which I just thing is a beautiful and caring thing to do. It shows that compassion is still there even after death. In the past family members have come to the funeral home and washed, dressed and help prepare their loved ones. I've had granddaughters do their grandmothers hair and make up, mothers dress their sons and groups of men who will gather together to prepare and elder of their community for their journey into the afterlife. 

It is very humbling to be a part of this process as it is such an intimate part of the death care process. To dress and prepare someone in the privacy of the funeral home prep room with a colleague is a duty that I take great pride and care in. But to be asked by a family to help them prepare their loved one for their funeral, that is truly special.

19. Aug, 2017

I love doing traditional funerals. There is something magnificent about the pomp and ceremony that surrounds our death rituals here in the UK. The Edwardian dress of the funeral director, the Victorian style of a horse drawn hearse, the symbolic nature of paging a funeral cortège down the street and the quiet solemnity we conduct ourselves. 

But as time has gone on more and more families are moving away from our 'Victorian way of death' and closer to the modern way of doing death. Cremations take up most of our time now instead of burials. Churches are getting used lesser as the world is becoming more secular. Green eco friendly burials are taking the place of church yard burials and the clergy are being replaced by civil celebrants. All of these alternative arrangements I love just as much as the traditional ones. To give someone the send off they they want and to look after they family left behind is the greatest job in the world. Caring for the dead is a truly unique thing to do and I feel privileged to do it. 

5. Aug, 2017

A morticians sense of humour is quite a unique thing. Some people may refer to it as 'gallows humour'. It is a very dark and dry sense of humour that's for sure. A lot of people ask me do you have a laugh at work? Or isn't it always miserable? The truth is working in a funeral home is far from miserable. And yes we do have a laugh. Mainly at our own expense I should add.

Jokes like 'it's a dead end job' or 'he's dying to leave' and 'do you spend all day with a stiff one' we hear all the time. It's a way of getting through the day and breaks the boring bits up slightly. Trust me there are plenty of boring bits! If you didn't have a laugh and a joke I think you'd quite easily crack up. Death care is a very serious business and while most of the time we remain professional and with decorum and sensitivity when we are behind closed doors the smiles come out and the jokes start flowing.

A minister once asked me "isn't it true that the conversation in hearses amongst the undertakers can be sometimes quite humorous?" I just gave a look at him to say "you know that's correct". You often see a hearse loaded with a coffin and flowers with four glum looking individuals inside. But trust me the conversation most of the time is far from glum, but always remains respectful. After all we are professionals dealing with a very sensitive time in someone's life so we always keep that at the front of our minds.