Charles Cowling
I’ve blogged about Co-op Funeralcare screwups in the past. I have been critical and it has unsettled people. We all screw up sometimes; to err is human. Be a little kinder, people have said (cos remember, you screw up sometimes, too, yes?) Of course. And I hope I come out
Charles Cowling
In the United States, Thomas Lynch, sage, poet, writer and undertaker, has been denounced by industry watchdogs the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) and the Funeral Ethics Organization (FEO). Both of these organisations exist to protect consumers, expose malpractice, shame shysters and explore ways in which funerals can be cheaper and
Charles Cowling
The world of death has given birth to very few websites of any value or beauty. Most undertakers are technodunces; many do not even rise to email. What’s more, there is very little discussion of death and dying going on in this country (the UK) just now. I have far
Charles Cowling
I was emailed last night by someone who wants to visit their dead parent at the undertaker’s. The undertaker won’t make an appointment. The client thinks the undertaker is prevaricating. The undertaker tells the client that the customary time to visit a dead person is the day before the funeral.
Charles Cowling
In December 2006, Boyd Evans, 20, a talented, stylish, popular hairdresser, died after a car crash along with his partner, Nathan.   Boyd’s mother, Teresa, set about trying to get his clothes and things back: “I had wanted every last thing close to Boyd in his last moments.” The hospital
Charles Cowling
http://www.flickr.com/photos/siobhanbyrne/798944733/page2/ There – just over there. See them? That conspiratorial huddle, furtive, watchful. Burglars? Satanists? What are they up to? Chances are they’re only bereaved people waiting for the coast to clear before they can scatter some cremated remains. It’s difficult to do that in public, openly. It might distress
Charles Cowling
One more post about how we should speak of and to our dead people. All of us, probably, cling to the superstition that we should not speak ill of them — not too ill, anyway (just mildly critically, perhaps). To do so could have calamitous, possibly supernatural, consequences. Hush and
Charles Cowling
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22834080@N06/2194157320/ A funeral is theatre. Yes? The protagonist is a dead person in a box who hogs centre stage and utters not a word of dialogue throughout. Unusual theatre as theatre goes, but theatre all the same, I think we can assert. To what genre does it belong? Tragedy, of
Charles Cowling
Photo by KQED QUEST on Flickr Kathryn Flett wrote in this Sunday’s Observer about a funeral she went to. Her account is testimony to the value of a funeral. She says: “The send-off was standing room only, with moving speeches, singing, essential tears, equally essential laughter and a cardboard eco-coffin
Charles Cowling
I’ve been mentoring a fledgling funeral celebrant. The occasion of her first funeral was quite an event. She had formed a relationship of warmth and trust with the wife of the man who had died and she had written a good tribute, full of personal touches. She is nothing if