Yesterday, Friday 10th July I officiated at the funeral of a lady in a little village between Newcastle Emlyn and Aberporth. I met Ron, her husband, and her daughter and son a few days before the ceremony (as normal) and created the ceremony (as normal). But that’s where the normality finished.
Eileen and her husband had been making plans about how they would conduct their funerals for years, and after a fight with cancer her time had come.
Eileen was buried in the field above her house. This field hasn’t been ploughed for decades and as such the long grass waved in the wind, dotted with wild flowers and butterflies. After taking Eileen’s coffin into the house (of which she’d been justifiably proud) one last time, I and a small group of friends and family followed the hearse up the wide path which had been cut through the meadow. The atmosphere was relaxed as we walked, the Sun shone down.
The coffin was put onto the funeral director’s trolley by the bearers when we reached the graveside, and we all formed a circle around it and reflected on her life by listening to the tribute I’d created with the family. Two of the (adult) children had written letters, so these were read out followed by a letter from Eileen herself “to be read at my graveside”. This marked the time to take her to the grave, and after a short reflective piece from me about the beauty and suitability of where her final resting place is, Eileen was lowered into the earth by her family to the sound of Elvis, as she had instructed. Everyone laid individual flower stems on the casket after that, and the tears flowed freely, even the funeral director admitting to wiping away a tear.
This marked a first for both the funeral director and me and it was the most natural way to say goodbye to a loved one I’ve come across. Obviously, we don’t all have access to our own large piece of land, but it’s made me wish that we had a natural burial site nearer where I live. Even though this wouldn’t be quite as perfect as being laid to rest a few yards from our home like Eileen is, the feeling of the circle of life being completed would be more palpable I suspect, than in the crematorium. Debbie, Eileen’s daughter said afterwards; “I don’t feel sad right now, I have a warm feeling here (touching her chest) as I know we’ve done the right thing for Mam when the inevitable happened”.
If you want to learn more about the service you will receive with Treasured Ceremonies, call me on 07986 526732 or email email@example.com or ask your funeral director to contact me.
The funeral director in this case was Alun Esau. His address is
Telephone: 01239 654 240