LETTER:Personal involvement is what makes a good funeral

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The Independent Online
From Mr Harold Brend

Sir: I agree with your leader comments on the bleakness and inappropriateness of the conventional funeral service for many people, and when my wife died after a long illness I decided that the best way to avoid what would have been for me (and her) a meaningless event was to conduct the ceremony myself. With the help of the crematorium staff and the undertaker, this was not difficult.

I provided the undertaker with two pre-recorded pieces of music that my wife had loved, and asked a close family friend to give a short address. I welcomed the mourners, explaining the nature of the ceremony, so as not to offend those who were expecting a religious service, and asked them all to enjoy the music in happy memory of my wife.

The whole procedure was very warm and dignified, although the most difficult part for me emotionally was arranging things beforehand while my wife was still alive; but I also felt that, after years of caring, it was the last service I could perform for her.

Yours faithfully,

Harold Brend



5 February