Having been in the funeral industry for some time, one thing that is very obvious to me is that no two funerals are ever the same.
We’re very lucky in that we get to work with many families that are looking for something a bit different to the standard crematorium service for their loved one’s funeral.
We’ve helped families look after their loved ones at home, we’ve arranged many home and garden services (often followed by a Direct Cremation), we’ve helped out with several Natural Burial Ground services (with on-site picnics afterwards) and managed an amazing home burial with a Dhol Drum procession across the village green.
But not everyone wants (or needs) a full funeral service with lots of people present. In fact, the very idea of having to be civil and polite to (often very distant) friends and family can fill some people with additional stress and anxiety.
We had exactly this situation recently. A daughter arranging her mother’s funeral (and caring for her father at the same time) couldn’t face being “centre of attention” at a large family funeral.
What we arranged instead turned out to be just the perfect funeral for them.
Both daughter and father had agreed that they wanted a Direct Cremation for their mother and wife, without any fuss or crematorium service. But they both needed the opportunity to say goodbye privately in a quiet and personal way.
Holly and I suggested that we could have a small private service in our peaceful Serenity Room in Cranbrook.
So, on a cold February morning, we gathered to say goodbye to Margaret. We had already prepared the room with candles and soft lighting and displayed Margaret’s coffin on bamboo trestles with just a few flowers and a heart made from rose petals.
The four of us stood next to the coffin, hand in hand. Holly delivered some words on behalf of the family, we listened to some meaningful music and I read a passage from Winnie the pooh
“You see," began Christopher with a long sigh. "It's like sleeping for a long, long time.”
Christopher Robin was surrounded by his friends under his favourite tree. It rested on the top of a hill overlooking the entire Hundred Acre Wood. He was older now, and he knew that he didn’t have much more time left with them.
"But going to sleep means that someday you'll wake up." Pooh said with a smile.
"Precisely!" Owl exclaimed.
"And we'll be here when you do," Kanga added. "I’ll even make you breakfast.”
Christopher couldn’t help but smile. "I would very much like that. But you all have to understand that it will be a very, very long time.”
"Oh ho ho! We are great at waiting a long time! Rabbit here waits every year for the carrots to grow in the garden." Tigger chimed in.
"And every year you destroy them!" Rabbit snarled. "But Christopher!"
Roo interjected, jumping into Christopher’s lap. "What are we going to do when you’re gone?”
"Oh I won't be gone Roo. I’ll be right here." Christopher placed his finger over Roo’s heart. Roo giggled and scrunched up into a ball.
"We'll be just fine," muttered Eeyore. "I’m used to being alone anyways.”
"None of you will be alone! You’re a family now, and while I’m gone you will all take care of each other.”
"B-b-b-ut you will b-b-be back r-r-right Christopher?" Stuttered Piglett.
Christopher let out a soft sigh and looked around at all of his friends. It was going to be difficult to help them to understand. They probably never would…
The service was full of love and intention and just what was needed by this particular family.
This just goes to prove that there is no right or wrong way of doing things and what suits one family may be totally wrong for another.
If you would like more information about this topic, or any other funeral related advice, please feel free to contact us without obligation.