This week I have been making arrangements for my dear friend's funeral, (in advance.) It has been a very tender time.
I can't tell you how supportive this has been to have an open conversation about this, 3 conversations so far.
I have to say it was far easier to talk with them about their wishes before they got the diagnosis. After diagnosis and nearing the end of life, it takes on a whole new meaning.
I have also been talking with crematoriums, funeral directors, exploring the options and choices, logistics & prices!
The last time I organised a funeral was for my precious friend Nirjana in 2016. which was 100% home organised.
We wanted to do similar this time, however, now that they are in a care home, it doesn’t seem as simple as it was before with my other friend.
For example, Nirjana died in hospital and her body was kept in the morgue until we were ready to collect her in her Bongo campervan with a freshly decorated DIY built coffin and onto the Crematorium for the service.
For starters, in the Care home, there is no morgue and so they can’t keep people’s bodies there. Taking the body to my friend's flat isn’t a practical solution either as there will be the need for ice packs and cooling plates to keep the body cool and slow down decomposition. And also they would be there on their own.
And because of the nature of the cancer and the body breaking down already with pressure sores and having had chemo and radiotherapy (and not going to be embalmed), then our only other option is to store his body with a funeral director.
The funeral director will come when needed and take them into their care where they have a morgue and we can go and help prepare them for the funeral. And most importantly, I know he will be cared for with love , dignity and respect.
We will also be holding a service at the Funeral Directors, they have a beautiful space, with close friends and family.
And the following day, I and a few others will be taking his body directly to the Crematorium for a Direct Cremation and a final goodbye, and closure.
It doesn’t feel right giving this role over to someone else that did not know and love him like we, his friends do. I am talking with another friend who has an estate car to plan this part!
Of course, just as with life, death is also unpredictable and despite our well intentioned plans, it will all take on its own timing and we will be open and responsive to whatever happens and is needed.
Have you ever organised a funeral for a loved one?