As much as we don’t want to ponder our own mortality, or that of our loved ones, there are some advantages to pre-planning our final farewell. One of those is the humble coffin.
Death is sad, and all too often, tragic. And so funerals are sad, but they also serve as an opportunity to celebrate a life and a person. They give us the opportunity to reflect on the significance of that person in our lives, and the memories we are left with.
The first sight of a coffin that you know contains a person who you love and care about is never easy. I have been to two funerals where that first view brought a smile with the tears. The first one was a coffin that had been hand-painted by the immediate family – it was bright, colourful and featured my friend’s favourite flower. I knew she would have loved it.
The second was my uncle’s, a man who had spent his life working the land in outback South Australia. His coffin was covered in a picture of a healthy wheat paddock with an impressive combine harvester in the middle of it. On top of the coffin, was a sheaf of wheat and his trademark Akubra hat.
Neither coffin was sombre, and both added significance to the ceremony by reminding us of the people and creating another happy memory.
I don’t do dark brown so I was close to ecstatic when I discovered that I could have a hot pink coffin. And that it could have photos all over it. Or it could be hand-painted, with or without a glass of wine in the other hand.
What this means is that we have options, and they are worth, at the very least, some consideration. Funeral directors usually have a range of these products, or, as we have come to expect, they are available online.
Have a look at three sites that I have discovered:
1. LifeArt Coffins offer personalised and environmentally-friendly coffins.
2. Serendipity Coffins offer environmentally-friendly coffins made of biodegradable materials.
3. The Handwoven Caskets Co offer hand-woven willow coffins.
On the other hand, as Steven Wright said, “I intend to live forever. So far, so good.”