Despite sneaking in a little blog about blackberries, I did mean what I said about not writing another blog in this series until I had made an appointment with the funeral directors to discuss setting up a pre-paid plan. All the intentions were right but, as I started researching what was on offer, I grew increasingly uncomfortable with the packages advertised. Don’t get me wrong. I admire hugely the experience and expertise that funeral directors can bring to proceedings, dealing professionally with all the practical aspects of saying goodbye to someone much loved. They are aware of the potential pitfalls and meltdowns that may occur, and make sure that all practical logistics run smoothly. Just what one wants – or is it?
Maybe I’m just cussedly stubborn, or arrogant, to sense that I could somehow do it better? Forgive the pun, but I am by nature an ‘out of the box’ thinker… Combine that with an OCD mind for detail, process and ticking boxes, and you see where the problem lies. I have no interest in whether I have a Standard, Bronze, Silver or Gold service. Down that route lie the dangers of horse-drawn hearses and piles of lilies (which make me sneeze and drop their pollen everywhere).
On the same day I did my initial research, I met a friend whilst out walking, whose 95 year-old mother had recently died. For her, they had gone down the route of a service with no service – keeping it all very simple, where a body is taken away and cremated and the ashes delivered back to you. I’m not at all sure that I would wish to do that, or that my family and friends would like it either, but it made me realise that I had approached things in quite a blinkered fashion. I was leaving out much of what is important to me.
If they are comfortable with it, I would like to discuss things with those who will be most affected by my death, before it becomes obviously imminent. I love being creative, making a plan, and putting things in place in a way that means everyone can relax. Why should this be any different when it comes to my final departure?
So, it’s back to the drawing board in a sense. I may not have fulfilled the initial objective, but along the way I am starting to discover what is important to me and can set off on a slightly different tangent. Remembering at all times that the intention of this exercise is to help make sure that the remainder of life stays focused, realistic and joyful.