"We cannot accept the coffin, it’s too big!"
Updated: May 21
These are the words you do NOT want to hear from the Crematorium at 4pm, the day BEFORE the funeral. And yet, these were indeed the words I heard when I answered my phone the day before my dear friend’s funeral that we had spent so much time organising, and as I was the main person, it was up to me to fix this potentially major set back.
The person at the Crematorium went on to explain that the coffin we made was too long and the “runners” on the bottom weren’t spaced correctly and therefore would not fit properly on the conveyer belt and that the other Crematorium in the city dealt with taller people. Let me explain here that my dear friend was not over 6ft.
The coffin was so lovingly made out of recycled wood by friends and beautifully decorated by her sister and niece.
I had checked out all the required measurements and specifications beforehand with the Crematorium and it all seemed to be fine up until the day before, but this was their first experience of receiving a hand made coffin and my first experience of having one made, so we both agreed that it was a learning for both parties! **
So what did I do? (Apart from nearly having a fit right there and then!) I called my friend who had made the coffin and explained the situation and he came over to see if it was possible to make the alterations. In the meantime I called a funeral director just to check whether we could get a cardboard coffin just in case it was too complicated to alter our coffin. The man from the funeral directors was very helpful and he said yes it was indeed possible to buy one for £300 * There was no way we were going to miss our slot at the Crematorium and we were due to collect my beloved friend's body from the hospital morgue the next morning in her Bongo campervan and then go onto the Crematorium for her service.
Nirjana in her beloved campervan
* Price as of as 2016
** There are different measurement requirements for coffin and casket so do
check the measurements specifications with the Crematorium beforehand. The coffin
needs a specific waterproof lining which you can buy from a Funeral Directors.