I have to be honest, most people are not comfortable about discussing their funeral plans until they are really approaching the date they expect to die. This isn’t something that normally comes up as a discussion in the pub or around the dining table, so why raise it now?

I am in my early 60s and in recent years have attended many funerals both of my elder relatives and, all too often, younger friends.

I attend these events with total respect for the feelings of the relatives of the deceased, but time and time again I leave not fully satisfied that my friend or relative’s life has been adequately celebrated by somebody who has known them well, and often the religious tone of the service has been totally inappropriate for the person I knew. The funerals I attend today haven’t really changed since the services I attended in the 1970s. Can you think of anything else that hasnt been changed to reflect current society.

Along with around half of the UK population I am not a religious person and, unless I make my wishes known there is a chance that I would be dealt with in a similar way, especially if I had a sudden death which allows the funeral system/business to take over, certainly with good intentions, however what they deliver tends to be a traditional solution with a religious element.

My inspiration to take control came after the death of one of my heroes David Bowie.  After his sad death in January 2016, his family simply asked the hospital to arrange for a cremation and then return the ashes to them. They were then free to celebrate David’s life in the way they wished and I am confident that he had been totally involved in what was planned.

This process is termed a direct cremation and since David’s death many people have requested this solution.

This is often dismissed as a low cost option which I think really misses the point.  In most cases it is about taking control of the process, it is certainly much cheaper, but in my case I would be much happier setting aside some money to pay for a meal out for my family and friends followed by the disposal of my ashes to a location previously agreed with my family before my death.

At Simply Dead we really want to remove the mystery from the whole process of death and therefore allow people to take control. Whether you want a traditional religious approach or something more personal we really want to help and be seen as the source of all relevant information.

Why not read through our other articles and then record your own funeral wishes on our My Wishes template.  You can download it free under the Free Resources tab.

Stephen Wolfenden

Director Simply Dead