“You will probably know, if you are reading this, that I have a problem with crematorium funerals. Many years ago, I was asked to do the eulogy for a BBC colleague, and it was without much doubt the worst address of my life. So this may have affected my judgement.
But I think that one of the most important aspects of any funeral/memorial is for friends and particularly family to say goodbye, in a way that marks the end of something and the beginning of something else.
Different cultures have different ways of doing this. In our culture until not that long ago, this was marked by the body in a coffin going into the ground, and soil going on top of the coffin, neither the coffin nor the body being seen again. A proper farewell.
Not everybody saw it that way. Some thought that their loved one was still there under the ground. When I was a churchwarden, one grieving mother was very insistent that her son’s grave plot should be in the sunshine because he liked being in the sunshine. And a grave is a place which many feel that they can visit to remember and sense the connection with their relative or friend. But a proper farewell has been said.
Today it is much more likely that people wish to be cremated, for many good reasons which I share. However, this normally involves a crematorium service/ceremony, which I find troubling.
I think this needs a rethink. So I am attracted by the idea of direct cremation, which a number of undertakers perform, more or less well. I am particularly interested in the organisation Pure Cremation. It is possible to make an agreement with them in life. With such an agreement, they will come to your home or hospital at death, and respectfully take the body away. It will not go from undertaker to undertaker. They will tell the relatives of the moment of actual cremation, so that they can remember their relative when it really happens. And a proper and unique goodbye service/event can happen anywhere at any suitable date and time.
I think this is a no-brainer. What do you think?”