Charles 3 Comments

The young wife of a man who has died of cancer goes to see him one last time at the funeral director. She is destroyed by grief and asks her celebrant to go with her for support.

She spends quite some time with her husband. As she turns to leave, the celebrant asks her, “Would you like to put the lid on his coffin? Then you will be the last person ever to see him.”

“Am I allowed to?” she asks.

“Of course you are.”

So she does. 

And it makes all the difference — an enormous difference.

It’s a true story — it happened last week. 

And here’s the moral for any funeral director who’s missed the point. Ask not what you can do for your clients, ask what they can do for themselves. 


  1. Charles

    I love this because it really is those seemingly small (often unplanned) moments that make all the difference. At my dad’s funeral, his fire service colleagues approached us and asked if they could carry him in. I will never forget it.

  2. Charles

    Bring on the day when no-one feels they have to ask “am I allowed to ?”
    What a beautiful, moving gift, so simple and so profound – Roberta Flack singing: the first time ever I saw your face becomes – the last time ever I saw your face…well done that celebrant.

  3. Charles

    ‘Bring on the day when no-one feels they have to ask “am I allowed to ?”’

    Right on, Jehdeiah. That day itself should become a public holiday! I mean, you wouldn’t buy a car and then ask if you’re allowed to drive it, would you. You don’t ring up the supermarket and ask if you’re allowed to eat the food you’ve bought, do you.

    Ask not to whom the funeral belongs –
    it belongs to thee.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>