There's no hurry
Allow yourself time to come to terms with what has happened before you make any decisions about the funeral.
My parents were not particularly religious but did not want a humanist leading the service so I led it supported by the funeral directors.
Don't be pressurised
When someone dies in hospital or in a nursing home you might be asked quite quickly who your funeral director is so that the body can be removed. It is ok to tell them that you are not ready yet and will let them know when you are.
If the hospital staff have space difficulties, a funeral director might collect and store the person but you are under no obligation to use this company for the funeral itself. The funeral director you choose will arrange to collect the person from the temporary funeral director and take them into their care.
You've got a lot to organise under tough emotional circumstances. Give people permission to help. People want to help but may not know how so be specific. It’s a good idea to write a list and keep it by the phone.
Find a funeral director who is familiar with natural burial and in tune with your ideas. Independent funeral directors usually have lower costs and are more flexible than the big chains. Good personal recommendations are helpful too.
Don't be afraid to say no
Tell your funeral director if there are things on his checklist that you don't want or need such as 'Hygenic Treatment' (Embalming). It can help to take a close friend or relative that can take over a discussion if you become too upset. You can still be there indicating preferences and your wishes.
Break the rules
If it's right for you, why not arrive at the burial ground an hour or more before those coming so that you can greet them individually? Set the coffin on trestles, or on bearers across the grave, or perhaps even lower the coffin into the grave before they come.
Stay if the weather is kind and raise a glass.
Make it personal
Anything goes at a natural burial ground. There are no pre-conceptions and you can be as formal or informal as you like. Read the accounts in the 'Your Stories' page
Take the dog, a favorite object, flower, photograph or memento from a hobby or sport. See our Funeral Service page for more ideas and advice.
Try not to be persuaded by others that you must do things a certain way. We have now helped a number of families do the funeral their way, with or without the involvement of a Funeral Director. Special arrangements have included using a home made stretcher to using climbing equipment.
The ethos, personal touch and dignity made the funeral part of my dad's life, and not just the end of it.
Include children if you want to. They might feel left out if you don't. Natural burial grounds are not like cemeteries and it doesn’t matter if children want to run around, be themselves and even play.
My grandson was quite overwhelmed so he had the most important job of putting the stake in with the plaque in front of the tree. The plaque was very nicely done, couldn't have been better.
Plan ahead when possible
A good reason to contact us before someone dies is that there can be no doubt that their wishes are being followed. Sometimes, especially after a sudden death, wanting to do what the person would have wished, or trying to find out if they had discussed it with other family members or friends, can add significantly to the emotional burden already being felt.
Of course, not all funerals can be planned in advance but it can be helpful to have a few pointers.
Planning and paying for a funeral in advance can give you more time to plan the important parts when the time comes. It can also make the process a lot less stressful. What ever your situation, these websites below may be useful in terms of what financial support you're entitled to, and how to go about dealing with legalities, etc.