Charles Cowling
This is Tom Lynch: There’s this wonderful essay that was written — I have it framed in the hallway there; the woman’s name, I think, is Sullivan who wrote it. She talks about how in her life the difference was not between doing good and evil. It was just doing
Charles Cowling
Simon Smith of green fuse contemporary funerals had a piece published in October’s Funeral Service Journal, the undertakers’ trade journal, which, I feared, had something of a flower of the desert about it. Despite the best efforts of its excellent editor, Brian Parsons, funeral directors are not great readers, nor
Charles Cowling
THE SCENE: An undertaker’s premises in a shopping centre in the middle of a council estate on the outskirts of Hull. ENTER three ten year-old children… Before we resume the narrative, consider for a moment what a ten year-old is. It is a half-size version of an adult. It speaks
Charles Cowling
The purpose of a funeral is to express and reaffirm beliefs that make sense of a death in terms of, both, the tenets of the dead person and those of the living. We don’t see a lot of common purpose in an age in which faith has fragmented. All funerals
Charles Cowling
There isn’t a name we all use for the gathering after a funeral, is there? Once upon a time there was the funeral feast, with bakemeats and all the booze you could drink—a good way of ensuring the dead person would be remembered fondly. But the feast petered out and
Charles Cowling
Here are some extracts from Nigel Slater’s essay Feeding the Elderly, taken from Eating for England. It is December 2004, and I am sitting in an old people’s home just outside Birmingham. I am holding my aunt’s hand. My aunt is ninety-nine, my eldest surviving relative on my father’s side
Charles Cowling
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Charles Cowling
Rupert Callender made this observation of Dan Cruickshank’s The Art of Dying: I was surprised by how little thought Dan had apparently given the matter. I thought everyone mused endlessly about their own deaths. I don’t know that they do, Rupert. When, over in the US, Bob Butz was asked
Charles Cowling
Is death really a taboo in our society? It’s a strong word, taboo, and I don’t know that it’s the right one. If there is a reluctance to confront death it is just as likely that it is because we are all having such fun being alive and feeling healthy.
Charles Cowling
Prisons are places where people are defined by the worst thing they’ve ever done. The stigma sticks for the rest of their lives. We, free people define ourselves by the best we can be. If we hate sinners it is because we are not as they. But we are. There