We should have more conversations about death, particularly with the people we love. I don’t mean that we should be obsessive or negative but I can see the difference it makes to people when it actually happens. They feel more empowered to make decisions and at a time when you feel powerless about pretty much everything else, this can be a lifeline.
I dislike the word ‘morbid’ – I think it is responsible for our funny attitude towards death. How many times have I heard ‘Is it morbid to come to talk to you before my mum has died?’. No, it doesn’t mean that you have some strange fascination with death, but simply that you will be better prepared when it happens. Think of it as a protection.
If you are faced with having to pull together a funeral for someone you love, you will obviously want the ceremony to reflect them as much as possible. However, it’s also about you. Incorporating elements that feel helpful or comforting to you is important too. A ‘good’ funeral should be the first step in the healing process.
If you know someone who has been bereaved, don’t avoid them because you don’t know what to say. Most of the time you don’t have to say anything – just be there. So often the pain of grief is exacerbated by the feeling of being avoided – I see this time and time again sadly.
Children are stronger than we think. Don’t assume that a funeral is too much for them to handle. Explain what a funeral is and ask them if they would like to be there. Not only do they tend to lighten the atmosphere, but they need to make sense of losing that person too. Involving them in the process is even better, for example, by decorating the coffin.
About Jo Loveridge
Jo is a funeral director and the owner of Albany Funerals in Kent. Concerned by how impersonal many funerals were and how driven by money many Funeral Directors were, Jo was determined that families and individuals going through the hardest of times would have a funeral that was both personal and affordable. Ten years on she now has branches in Maidstone and Ashford and works with families across the whole of Kent arranging both traditional and modern funerals.