The Good Funeral Guide Blog

The Modern Mourner

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

I wonder if you spent any time over at The Modern Mourner yesterday? If you didn’t, think again and have a gander. It is the creation of Shirley Tatum, a generous spirit who signposts her readers to all manner of more or less wonderful designers. Okay, there’s nothing quite so divisive as taste, but I’m going to nail my colours to the mast here. I love ’em.

Here’s Shirley’s manifesto: My goal is to bring a sense of design to the way we mourn. I’ve noticed how much care goes into the aesthetics of weddings and births, but there seems to be little consideration when it comes to funerals and remembrance. There are so many aspects that need to be overhauled in the funeral industry – from attitudes toward death to industry practices. Design & mourning is a little niche that I’ve chosen to focus on, and hope to make a difference.

Before long I hope she will write a guest post here.

On her site she has an interview with Patrick McNally, aka The Daily Undertaker, whom I think we all admire hugely. If you’ve never been, go now. Here’s Patrick’s response to one of Shirley’s questions:

The word “Undertaker” is actually quite beautiful, but it’s a word most Americans have come to fear. Why is that?
‘Undertaker’ originally described a person who undertook to provide funeral services and goods, not someone who takes your body under the ground, and it had a neutral connotation. However, all words that are used to describe things that we are uncomfortable with end up taking on a negative tinge. When we change the word to remove the negative feeling, though, we solve nothing other than confusing people about what we really do. ‘Mortician’ is a fancied-up job title like ‘beautician’ and Funeral Director was the next step after that, but what does that title even mean? To effect a real change we need to talk openly about death, and stop changing the words associated with it. When you say ‘Undertaker’, everyone knows what you are talking about whether they are aware of the origins of the word or not. It’s plain talk and yes, plain talk has a real beauty to it.

One of the designers and makers Shirley signposts is LBrandt Terraria, which supplies an entirely new receptacle for ashes/memento mori with a strong delight factor,  as evidenced in the pic at the top.

One comment on “The Modern Mourner

  1. Wednesday 22nd September 2010 at 2:27 pm

    For me undertaker is more associated with wrestling. Don’t know if Undertaker is till up, but he used to. A great picture above the article 😉

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