Holding hands

How to have a dementia-friendly funeral

Quite a few funerals I conduct are related to dementia. Either the person who has died or a living family member has been diagnosed with the disease. This raises specific questions and thoughts around funeral arrangements, such as: “Should we take mum to the funeral? She will not remember anything of it” “We don’t need[…]

How planning your funeral (and talking about it) benefits you and your loved ones

Sculpture on grave at Zorgvlied Cemetery, Amsterdam   Discussing your own funeral is not something you typically do at the dinner table, at a friend’s birthday party or during a coffee break at work. For many people, death is something they rather not think or talk about. It might evoke fear, sad feelings or images[…]

The Goodbye-box: a playful way to help children grieve

  Children grieve too but they do this differently than adults. Unlike adults, children have a limited ability to express their feelings, thoughts and memories verbally. Alternatively, play can be an effective and safe way for them to give messages on how they feel. Bonnie Jansen, who teaches at a primary school in the Netherlands and[…]

How to include young children in funerals

“I am not sure if I should take my children to the funeral. What do you think?” It’s a question parents often ask me as a funeral celebrant. If prepared well, attending a funeral can be a healthy, healing and positive experience for children. The following feedback from a parent explains how attending a funeral has helped[…]

Why we need to rethink funeral spaces

Funeral at Willow Row Barrow, Cambridgeshire   On a chilly but bright autumn morning, the family and friends of David Sinclair gathered to both celebrate his life and acknowledge his death at the place he had chosen as his final resting place, Willow Row Barrow, in the Cambridgeshire countryside. It was the first time that a[…]

How to grieve an invisible loss: 5 rituals for miscarriage

              More than one in five pregnancies ends in a miscarriage. That’s about a quarter of a million in the UK each year. Everyone who has had or is going to a pregnancy loss or miscarriage will experience this in their own way. Not everyone will feel the same.[…]

The future of funerals: what the UK funeral industry can learn from the Dutch

A few weeks ago, I went on a funeral field trip to The Netherlands. I was curious to learn more about the funeral practices in my home country. The Dutch are well known for the relaxed, personal and innovative way of dealing with their dead. What can de UK funeral world learn from their neighbours?[…]

Training: Grief Foundations for Funeral Professionals

*NEW DATE: Sat 20th October 2018, 10am-1pm, Portsoken House, 155-157 Minories, EC3N 1LJ, London. More info: rosalie@ritualstoday.co.uk Caroline Lloyd (aka The Grief Geek) and I have developed the training ‘Grief foundations for funeral professionals’. In this training you will learn what grief is and how to support the bereaved. The training offers a mix of theory, interactive discussions and exercises. The[…]

Funerals: how to select the right music (and avoid the Top 10 Funeral Hits)

  What music would you like to have played at your funeral? One of your favourite songs? A traditional hymn? Should it be sombre, or rather uplifting and cheerful? Not many people plan their funeral and in our society it’s not something we usually discuss over a cuppa or a pint of beer. Which is[…]

Good Funeral Awards 2016. Death, Oscars and Two Important Questions.

Thursday, 8th September I will be attending the biggest party in the funeral world. At a glamorous lunch in London, a diverse bunch of people will be celebrating outstanding and innovative initiatives in the world of death and dying. One of the most exciting parts of the event is the announcement of the winners of the Good Funeral Awards[…]

Ode to the crematorium angels

  “Going into the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side; and they were startled. But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth (…) He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him. Go, tell his friends, that[…]

Departures: how to let go with beauty and dignity

Recently, I watched the film ‘Departures’, a 2008 Japanese drama by director Jōhirō Takita. The film is about a young man (Daigo Kobayashi) who, after a failed career as a cellist, stumbles across work as a nōkanshi, a traditional Japanese ritual mortician. Daigo’s work is to prepare bodies for cremation in a ceremony called encoffinment.[…]