MY MOTHER was not a morbid person at all, but one of the things she liked to do was visit churchyards and cemeteries. As children, my sister and I would be taken for walks around them.

Known for being very chatty, when my mother came across the stone that read “Peace at last” she commented that we would probably put that on her headstone! And during these visits, my mother would make remarks about her own funeral.

She died unexpectedly at the age of 62. When we went to the undertakers to make arrangements for her funeral, we discovered that we actually knew what she wanted for her funeral.

Arranging someone’s funeral is one of the very last things we can do for someone we love, and it’s important to get it right – for us and for them. Clergy will tell you that conducting a funeral service or memorial service is a real privilege. And arrangements are usually very much easier if the family have an insight into what the deceased wanted to happen.

I have spent some surprisingly happy visits with people discussing their funeral arrangements – choosing hymns, readings, music and noting their wishes. It was useful and worthwhile for all concerned. It gave us time to think about the here and now; the eternal and the journey to be taken into the hereafter.

It used to be said that one should not talk about politics, sex or religion, in polite society; but these three subjects are now well-aired. The one thing we tend not to talk about is mortality and death.

Rather than avoid this subject I would encourage you, however old you are, and for the sake of those you leave behind – to write your will, talk to your family (or vicar) about funeral arrangements and think about things eternal. 

Team Rector – the South Cotswolds