Funerals Your Way: A Person-Centered Approach to Planning a Funeral by Sarah Jones

Funerals Your Way: A Person-Centered Approach to Planning a Funeral by Sarah Jones
Publisher: Fisher King Publishing
Genre: Non-Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

This short book gives you the information, suggestions and step-by-step guidance you need to create funerals that truly reflect the person who has died. This second edition includes updated chapters about green funerals, funerals in the digital age and information about how to support wellbeing after bereavement.

It will help you if you want to express your own wishes, want to have a meaningful conversation with someone close to you or if you need to arrange a funeral at need.

It is designed to support people who intend to use the services of a funeral director, but would also give inspiration to those who would rather not.

While the author is based in the UK, many of the ideas and suggestions in Funerals Your Way will be relevant wherever in the world the reader may be.

It’s never too early to start thinking about what you want to include in a funeral or memorial service.

I hadn’t realized how much funerals could be personalized before I read this book. They can be formal, religious, humanist, somber, or even a celebration of life. So much depends on the personality, hobbies, and beliefs of the person who passed away. Ms. Jones made it perfectly clear that there are no right or wrong answers here and that it’s a smart idea to respect the wishes of the dead. She included multiple examples of people who planned services for relatives whose preferences or religious beliefs may not have matched those of their loved ones. I thought she handled this matter sensitively and gave the audience plenty of ideas of how to kindly carry out such services.

There were times when I wished that the author had provided the audience a little more guidance on what not to do based on what she has seen as a professional in this industry. Yes, funerals can be adapted to a wide variety of preferences, but it would have been nice to have some advice on common pitfalls to avoid or what she wishes more people knew about funeral and mourning etiquette in general. For example, a friend of mine died when he was very young. There were so many mourners at his viewing that some of them accidentally spilled over into the viewing area of someone else who had far fewer visitors and whose casket was being shown at the same time. I’ve sometimes wondered what the etiquette rules say about situations like those and would have been interested to hear a few stories about paying last respects and showing kindness in difficult situations.

One of the most interesting portions in my opinion was the one that discussed how to honestly discuss someone’s flaws during their funeral without speaking ill of the dead. Some people may have made decisions they deeply regretted later in life, while others may not have ever openly admitted to their mistakes or talked about what they would have done differently if they could live their lives over again. I appreciated the empathy Ms. Jones showed for both the deceased as well as mourners who might have mixed feelings about the recently departed for completely understandable reasons. This is something that is often glossed over when discussing death, grief, and funeral planning. I was happy to see that was not the case here and that there was so much room left to share both cheerful and difficult memories if that is what the next of kin wishes to do.

Funerals Your Way: A Person-Centered Approach to Planning a Funeral was a wonderful guidebook.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.