Two interesting new websites for you today. Both are labours of love, and both are run by nice, intelligent people.
The first is homegrown ScatteringAshes.co.uk. It’s a resource for people who, once they’ve got the ashes back from the funeral director in one of those plastic cartons, wonder what on earth to do with them. It can take them a long time to get their heads around it. It can take a long time, as a family, to agree. And, of course, they wonder what their options are. So Richard Martin, impelled by his own experience of bereavement, has created for them a sort of Ashes Central where they can survey their options and pick up some good tips about what sort of ceremony might best suit them. In his own words: “The site was born out of experience and a desire to tell people that they can celebrate a life in their own way. Often people can hold onto ashes for a couple of years or more before they decide what to finally do. By which time the funeral director is not at hand to guide you. Hopefully we can.” It’s well informed, comprehensive and a work in progress. Do write to Richard, if you feel the urge. He’s a ready learner who wants to do the best he can. His is a good idea and I think it deserves to do well. He runs a nice little blog, too. Well worth subscribing to.
The second site is US-based. It is the creation of Felix Jung, like Richard an industry outsider, who is much influenced by the work and thinking of Thomas Lynch. It’s called DeadAdvice.com and is reminiscent of the site established by Bill Drummond, MyDeath.net, where people can plan their own funerals. Whereas MyDeath is now a mature site, and has been infiltrated to an extent by jokers and drunks, DeadAdvice is very young and as yet has few postings. It is a place where people can write letters which address the Big Questions. In Felix’s words:
“Am I a good person? Have I been living a meaningful life? Am I spending the time I’ve been given wisely and well? In trying to answer those questions, I began thinking of the advice people have given me… and of the advice I might give others.
“Every letter on Dead Advice begins with the same first sentence: “Now that I’m dead, I want to tell you a few things.”
“Imagine, for a moment, that you have just died. If you had to look back over the arc of your life as it stands today, what stories would you tell? What lessons would you share, what things might you regret or confess?”
I’m really going to enjoy watching these two unfold.