It’s the one thing that will happen to all of us but it remains shrouded in mystery and misconception. So Independent funeral planners and celebrants Kathryn Breusch and Elizabeth Trevan have issued a challenge – let’s deconstruct death, and do it differently.
They’re inviting local residents to their series of community events called “How to have a Fabulous Funeral”. They describe it as part workshop, part education and part inspiration.
“People are demanding much more choice over death and dying” explained Elizabeth. “We want to arm them with knowledge about end of life and the funeral industry that isn’t really widely discussed. Once you know how it works you can deconstruct it, so we cover everything from DIY funerals to living wakes. The upcoming nationwide Dying To Know Day is another great example of how momentum is growing and more people are joining the conversation.”
“People find that conversation empowering and stimulating” said Kathryn. “Some people are very hands-on, non-conformist and interested in things like making their own coffins. We’ve had questions about burial at sea. And people want the details of what happens behind the scenes of a funeral and the journey your body goes on if you die in hospital. People are also very cost-conscious and want to know about body donation, funeral insurance, and whether you should have a funeral at all. We want to challenge their preconceptions about what a modern funeral looks like and what they see as most important to them.”
Elizabeth described how making vital decisions around death in advance helps to ease the burden when the day comes. “People often feel powerless when someone close them dies, because they are overwhelmed with decisions and it’s easier not to make any at all. While you have clarity and thought of mind you can discuss your wishes so everyone has a clear understanding of what you would like to happen.”
Why are they so passionate about engaging in a subject most people are disengaged with? “Because we’ve seen the difference between ceremonies that bring connection and healing and those that under-deliver”, said Elizabeth. “We have a passion for making a difference and know that through education and understanding there’s a better outcome for everyone involved.”