WESTMILL WOODLAND BURIAL GROUND

Spring is on the way - I think

The burial ground is beginning to dry out again and you can see points of colour on the stems in the hedgerows and the wild roses we planted two autumns ago.  The birds are singing again and we have had some beautiful sunny afternoons. 

We have just sent out a letter today to our Family and Friends group about holding a memorial event at the burial ground in September which feels like a very positive development.  A chance to come and remember and be together with others doing the same with some music and readings.   I think we need opportunities to mourn in our own way.  When we threw away all the black crepe and dresses and drawn curtains I think we actually lost something too.  I think it is very helpful if people are aware you have been bereaved.  I would like to introduce a simple black badge or bracelet of the kind you see for all kinds of causes so that there was a simple outward sign if you wanted one that everyone would understand.  

I was on Radio Oxford yesterday talking about the need to be more open about death and dying and the value of sharing the conversation with those we are close to.  I am so glad to be even asked to contribute as it shows how people are realising the importance of all this.

There have also been two very interesting developments recently.  CAB Wiltshire just produced a report about how many families are finding the cost of funerals too much to bear.  They offer very sensible advice about how to keep costs down and are campaigning for more planning and more transparency around the price of funerals.  I am so glad we now have our Community Interest Company up and running so we can demonstrate clearly that we are a not-for-profit business.  There are also moves afoot to try and improve the support available to families that simply cannot afford it but this is a difficult time to be trying to get more government support.  There are new ideas like Direct Cremation that can hugely cut the cost of a funeral. But they are not for everyone - clearly not if you want to be buried or if it feels important to be present at the crematorium yourself.  Finally, MacMillan Nurses have joined groups like Dying Matters in asking for a more open discussion about death and dying.  And who better qualified to support this?  We look forward to seeing how all this develops.