When I retired as a humanist celebrant I thought I'd stop writing this blog, but my fascination with all things death-related prompted more posts. They're just written from a slightly different perspective, that's all. Oh, and I still do the odd one, by special request.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Horses, not a hearse

Two Suffolk Punches, an ancient rare breed of heavy horses, pull a wagon carrying a coffin to the crematorium. This was at the request of the deceased, a relative of mine, who loved horses, especially this sort of horse (for more pictures, click on this picture).

Many people don't know that they can do more or less what they like at a British funeral. You don't have to use a funeral director; you needn't have a conventional hearse; you needn't have a conventional religious funeral; you can be buried in your own garden (subject to a few sensible rules); you needn't have a headstone; you can have a tree planted on your grave. There are many possibilities.

Would suggest, however, that if you make very elaborate plans for your own funeral, you may make if more difficult for your family and friends to grieve as they suffer the additional stress of trying to realise your wishes. If you think you're going to make things easier for them by arranging everything, think again.

Choose some music, maybe. Choose where you want it to happen. Write a few lines of farewell (resisting the urge to settle any scores posthumously), or choose a poem or two. Suggest a charity that might benefit from your death. Funerals are like weddings, in some respects. Spending a lot of money on them doesn't guarantee a satisfactory result. It's the content that matters, not the show.