LOOKING BACK ON TWO YEARS IN BUSINESS........
A coffin covered with photos of The Flying Scotsman and the Thomas the Tank Engine theme tune for a porter who'd worked at York railway station for 40 years. The joint funeral of a pregnant lady and her twin daughters - such a tragic and premature ending.
These two send-offs are among the 170 or so I've been involved in since I began my business in December 2015. What a whirlwind it's been. So many funerals, including for tiny babies and young children. Causes of death have included cancer - far too many of those - plus heart attacks, suicide and drowning. We are born the same way, more or less, but there are so many ways to die.
Every death and every funeral is unique, just as every person is unique, and I can remember them all. Some do stick out, though, for being a bit more unusual or, perhaps, sadder than others. For example, the above-mentioned porter's order of service had pictures of The Flying Scotsman printed on it, plus our procession drove around the station area in York as a mark of respect.
And, the pregnant lady, who died last year, could not be saved after she had a heart attack. Nor could her babies, despite the efforts of the medical team. I often find myself thinking about this trio.
I've learned over the many years I've 'worked with death' that life is unbelievably precious and that's it's important to be nice, as often and as much as you can. Often your time is up and you don't see it coming at all. Not everyone gets the chance to say goodbye to their loved ones. I've also learned that it's really important to make a will. And, I still believe in ghosts, rightly or wrongly! I haven't seen any though....I'll let you know if I do!
I don't know how 2018 will go because I don't have a crystal ball.....But I do know that my time as chairwoman of the Yorkshire division of the British Institute of Embalmers will end in late January. That's a shame as I've really enjoyed it. And, I predict that my partner Dave and I will do an 800-mile scooter ride in May from John O'Groats to Land's End for SANDS (the Stillborn and Neonatal Death charity).
Any businesses reading this who would like a promotional sticker on our bikes, please do get in touch.
My Life With Death, at your service, 24 hours a day.
Until next time