1. “My nurse said to me, when I was told the cancer was back, she said to me, ‘there's not much I can say that will help you right now, but all I know is that people that remain positive, they get on with their life, they tend to be here a lot longer than people that go into a slump and a depression over it'. And for weeks, months afterwards that kept going through my head. So, what's the alternative, I mean seriously what's the alternative. You lay down and you die or you fight a little bit and you get on with your life. Yeah parts of it have been unpleasant, of course they have. But life can be like that sometimes. You've just got to get on with it. Every time someone goes out the front door you actually don't know if you're gonna see them again. So what is the point in sitting there worrying about a disease that may or may not take hold. Right now I'm doing OK and I'm hanging onto that and I'm gonna just keep going.”
2. “One of mum’s wishes actually was 'I don't want somebody standing up there and talking about me who'd never met me, you know, who was a complete stranger, because I wouldn't want a complete stranger talking about me either, whether I'm alive or dead', so to have somebody there who had a connection with mum to hold the space is really important to us too.”
3. “I think the more open funeral directors are beginning now to really understand that it is simply much more healthy for undertakers not to be a wall between the body and the family, but undertakers that are now encouraging family members to come and wash the body, to prepare the body. You know, this to my mind is very, very healthy.”
4. "I would normally say to people once death has occurred, it's time to just sort of take stock and try and just recuperate a bit and know there's no immediate rush to do anything. You know, you'll have plenty of time for madness and, and exhaustion I think uh, just after the death, just try and look after yourself and each other."
5. “Whilst technically it's very interesting, embalming, it's not needed, and it's invasive. I came away from training as an embalmer thinking it's the last thing that I would want done to someone that I loved, after their struggle was over and death had happened. It's not needed for viewing a body or touching a body, it's only needed if a body is being repatriated overseas.”
Rehana Rose is the director of Dead Good - an intimate portrait of those dealing with their dead, supported during the ritual of care after death by a team of women who are ‘giving death back to the people’.
For nearly twenty years, a small team of women in Brighton have been changing the way people look after their dead. Supporting them to participate during the ritual of care after death and empowering all regardless of limited finances. Cara is passionate and believes in power to the people, challenging many of the accepted, traditional and often secretive ways of corporate funeral directors.
This relatively unknown work is part of an emerging movement confronting the way death is approached in modern Britain.
With extraordinary access, Rose followed three groups of people from the point of death of their loved one through to the ceremony.