In Australia about 160,000 people die each year, generating 1.1 billion dollars for the funeral industry, but now some non–traditional players are saying there’s a better way to say goodbye.
Picaluna founder Greg Inglis and celebrant Elizabeth Trevan say there is a growing trend in Australia for more authentic, personalised funerals. They joined the panel on Studio 10 to explain how Picaluna does just that.
Studio 10: For most of us when someone dies it’s a very emotional and confusing time and planning a funeral is not something we know how to do. Is it something many people plan for?
Greg Inglis: We would love it if everyone planned for a fabulous funeral! We know that life expectancy has risen in Australia and research tells us that most Australians over the age of 50 are not thinking about their funeral. But what we’ve found, is that families really appreciate the opportunity to create and plan bespoke, authentic farewells for their loved ones; the fact that Picaluna has transparent pricing; and that Picaluna gives 10% of its profit from the funeral, to a charity of the family’s choice. So it’s such an honour to help families truly celebrate a life lived.
Studio 10: Is there a different way to plan a funeral?
Greg Inglis: Absolutely! It’s all about our wonderful Picaluna celebrants empowering families to create authentic funerals, that are a true reflection of the person’s life. For example, one of our celebrants in Maitland – Lola, helped Brent plan the farewell for his wife Sam. It ended up being in three stages, the first stage taking Sam home for a few days following her death, where her two daughters aged 9 and 12 could spend time with her, platting Mum’s hair, reading her stories… extremely healing for them. Stage two was a lovely private farewell from the family home to the crematorium and then stage three was a big party at Laguna town hall where they put the band back together (Sam was a rocker and muso) and nearly 400 people partied till the wee hours of the morning. So it’s all about our celebrants working with their families to create wonderfully authentic farewells.
Studio 10: Elizabeth as a celebrant you would see people put the most extraordinary planning into their weddings. What role does a celebrant play in a funeral?
Elizabeth Trevan: As a celebrant, I also see a lot of planning going into funerals. In particular, working with Picaluna, as a Funeral celebrant we are very much at the beginning of the process following a death. This way we can really gain a greater understanding of someone’s whole life and assist families in finding very personalised tributes for them. For example: Maybe they were a member of the local golf club and they could have the ceremony there or the Surf Club and they could have the ceremony at the beach or even in their own backyard. So just by having that extra time with families, as a celebrant we can assist them in creating a fitting tribute that they can be very proud of.
Studio 10: Tell us about some of the funerals you’ve helped to organise.
One funeral that was very close to my heart was that of still-born twins Gilbert and Spencer. Their parents Dave and Jess, I’d had the pleasure of marrying, so it was real privilege to sit with them to talk about what we could do for their babies. What we created together was an amazing ceremony in a lovely garden close to their home. With lots of tears and lullabies and tributes. A real expression of their grief and love for their babies. On reflection they were able to appreciate that with Picaluna, they had a lot of personal choices available to them. And as a result, the ceremony became very healing.