Austin's Blog

 

The rise of ‘fun’ funerals

August 10th, 2018    Author:

Once upon a time, when you attended a funeral it would be a sombre occasion with mourners dressed in black. Today, many funeral services are conducted as a celebration, with loved ones choosing a fun theme to represent the deceased’s personality or interests.

In America, one funeral home has become known for its themed funerals – including a
Christmas-themed service complete with snow, elves and reindeers and a BBQ-inspired after party with live pigs and a barbeque sauce fountain. And in the UK, so-called ‘fun funerals’ are becoming increasingly popular, too. According to the National Association of Funeral Directors, their members have arranged all sorts of themed services involving classic cars, railways and the Wild West.

Superheroes are a popular choice. For one funeral service for a Spider-Man fan, the coffin was covered in Spider-Man stickers. Undertakers often get into the spirit of the theme as well, with one dressing as Darth Vader to lead the cortege for a Star Wars style funeral.

At the funeral of a music festival fan, the Glastonbury-inspired service saw all the mourners dressed in wellington boots while the coffin arrived on a customised camper van. For a football fan, mourners wore football shirts and the service finished with a final whistle. There’s even been a funeral service where everyone wore a onesie – the favourite outfit of the deceased.

A ‘fun’ funeral service isn’t for everyone. Recently TV presenter Colin Brazier asked mourners at his wife’s funeral to keep with tradition and wear black https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44923744, but in one study it was found that 66% of people believed funerals were becoming more of a celebration of a deceased person’s life, with a third saying that when it came to their own funeral they’d like it to be a party.

You might not want elves and sauce fountains at your loved one’s funeral but you may like to personalise the service to reflect their fun side. Whatever you decide, we’re here to help and support you.

* To talk to us about planning a funeral or cremation, please contact Austin’s on 01438 316623.

Shave for the community video

July 26th, 2018    Author:

Cremation Caskets

June 11th, 2018    Author:

With cremation on the increase, there are now many different ways to keep a loved one’s ashes. We look at some of the options…

Interment and burial

The traditional storage for ashes is an urn or casket that can be buried in a cemetery or perhaps in a natural burial ground. Today you can choose one made from a range of materials including banana leaf, seagrass, oak and bamboo. There’s even one made of corn starch that decomposes when it’s underground.

Water urns

If you’d like to have a water burial for your loved one, you can get biodegradable water urns made from natural materials such as recycled paper. They’re designed to float on the water for long enough to say your goodbyes before they gently sink.

Scatter tubes

Some people prefer to scatter ashes in a place that had a special meaning to the person they’ve lost – perhaps a favourite woodland walk or a clifftop overlooking the sea.  Scatter tubes come with special easy-to-scatter tabs and can be recycled or composted afterwards. They can also be personalised with a picture that celebrates your loved one.

For the home

When you want your loved one close by, there are urns and caskets that are made to fit into your home. You could have a pretty floral urn, a teardrop-shaped urn, a wooden heart, a box decorated with dried leaves or a fabric urn made from wool and embroidered with a name plate.

For the garden

Rain, snow, sun – urns and caskets made from natural materials will withstand the elements to stay with you as each season passes. These weather-friendly caskets come in a range of designs from pretty pebbles through to Buddha heads.

 

* At Austin’s, we have a range of urns and caskets that are provided by Forever Urns. You can view the collection here

The art of ‘death cleaning’

January 17th, 2018    Author:

When a loved one dies, one of the difficult tasks you may have to take on is clearing out their home. It can feel sad going through their possessions and it may seem like you’re having to say goodbye all over again.

In Sweden, there’s a tradition called ‘doestaedning’ – death cleaning – that may help make the process easier. It involves getting rid of unwanted possessions while you’re still alive – so the job isn’t left for others to do when you’re gone.

It may sound morbid, but people who death clean find it an empowering experience. Margareta Magnusson, author of ‘The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter’, started her own death cleaning after her parents and husband died and she was left to go through their belongings. She found getting rid of her own unwanted things uplifting and rewarding.

Death cleaning doesn’t need to be rushed. Margareta suggests going through one room at a time and listing each item that you want to keep or part with. It’s also best to start with items that are easy to let go of – clothes you rarely wear, those extra dinner plates you never use, unwanted presents.

You might want to give certain possessions to friends or family members – perhaps a piece of china or jewellery that they’ve admired. As for sentimental items such as photographs and letters, these should be kept with you and cherished. Margareta keeps all hers in a ‘throwaway’ box – these are things that family members don’t need to sort through when she’s gone and can be simply thrown away.

Death cleaning might not be for everybody, but if you’re struggling to clear out your loved one’s possessions it might be something to think about for yourself.

 * For help and support planning a funeral or cremation, please contact us on 01438 316623.