Looking at posts, discussions, articles, and blogs about the funeral industry, it is clear that the ‘traditional’ funeral is gradually being replaced with a very wide range of alternatives. Some of these variations are small steps, others reflect a wholesale rejection of what has, for over a hundred years, been considered “the norm”.
This development probably reflects wider changes in society. Religion has a different role, family structure has changed, ‘respectability’ has become a dated concept and there is now a strong desire in people from all walks of life to demonstrate their individualism. Readings can as easily be lines from Bob Dylan as from a bible passage; hymns have made way for songs; you can hire a motorbike and sidecar hearse; you only have to look at a website like Comparethecoffin to see a casket for every taste... the list goes on.
One reason is the current age profile of people now planning and arranging funerals. Joe Joachim of Funeral One sums it up in his article about Baby Boomers.
This is a generation that has enjoyed unprecedented wealth, health, and freedom, was there for the birth of Rock’n’Roll, began the sexual revolution, and remains engaged and young through technology, work, and travel.
But although in theory, people feel more ready to plan their funeral and often have pretty clear ideas about what it should be like – or at least strong ideas about what it should not be like – there are still often many details that have yet to be confirmed when it is time to put it all into practice. The plot and casket might be chosen, but how is everyone going to get there? Music has been picked but is a recording available? There is a general theme, but how will it be expressed?
There are many useful guides and support options out there. Two that we particularly like are Elizabeth Fournier (the ‘Green Reaper’) and her Green Burial Portland Facebook group and, here in the UK, Charles Cowling’s Good Funeral Guide website. We would love to hear more suggestions, whether they are aimed at Funeral Directors, Suppliers, Celebrants, the general public, or anyone else. The more information we can share about funeral options, the more help we can give to the individuals we serve.