Death. It’s a taboo subject most of us are reluctant to think about, let alone discuss. But it’s the one inevitable certainty for every human being (although some might add that paying taxes is another certainty to add to the list).
So when I was given the chance to see behind the scenes at a funeral directors’ last Tuesday, I was intrigued to discover what happens after death.
The Dispelling the Myths course, run by Fulchers, of Bury St Edmunds, aims to do exactly what it says on the tin. Over one day we were told about the many funeral options available, given a talk by a professional embalmer, visited the woodland burial site in Culford (which I didn’t even know existed), saw funeral vehicles and coffin stocks, and were taken behind the scenes at the borough crematorium, in Risby.
And it was fascinating.
I had no preconceptions before the day, but would never have imagined it would take an average three gallons of fluid to embalm a body, or that – if you choose to be cremated – your ashes will weigh within three ounces of your birth weight.
Aside from a few interesting facts, the day was full of surprises. I won’t say too much as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who attends in the future (and I highly recommend it – contact Fulchers on 01284 749187 for more information), but needless to say I left with plenty of food for thought.
Overwhelmingly, I was struck by how the whole funeral process can be dignified, respectful and caring.
But I was also struck by how communicating my own funeral wishes to my loved ones could make it easier for them to make decisions at a difficult time.
While I hope I have a lot longer left on this earth, I now have a much clearer and informed view on whether I want to be buried or cremated and my funeral.
So yes, death will always be a subject we might wish to avoid, but it’s one worth giving plenty of consideration to and discussing with our families. After all, if we really do love those closest to us, why wouldn’t we want to give them a helping hand for when we are gone?