Back from a fascinating weekend at the National Funeral Exhibition. We went along to introduce the Grief Recovery Method to those who are at the sharp end dealing with grief and I’m pleased to say we were made very welcome. The most fascinating about the weekend actually wasn’t the stands or the people wandering around. It was the reaction of friends and family to the fact we were going. 
Bear in mind this is the 21st century. Also that I’ve been working with grievers for over 5 years now so this concept isn’t new. Yet for some reason there is this view of the funeral industry that seems to be stuck in the Victorian era. 
What is it about our society that something as natural and inevitable as dying is still such a taboo topic? We sit in cinemas and watch Hollywood’s new and inventive ways to kill people off. We watch the news headlines and shake our heads at the latest tragedy. We’re not strangers to death – in that sense we talk about death all the time so why is the business of dealing with death so tricky? 
When I first mention the show there is astonishment. “Really? A funeral show? Isn’t that, well, a bit miserable?” 
They seem almost disappointed when I point out that this sector is just like any other sector – a trade show is a great chance to see new products, meet suppliers and network. 
What I found on visiting the show was a friendly environment, lots of professionals genuinely keen to help “their families” (rarely were the terms clients or customers used which I find refreshing) and some really intriguing products. 
I have no idea what the industry can do to help bring about a change in attitudes but it does need to change if we’re all to get the funeral that is best able to reflect the person we’re mourning. 
Wandering around the show I discovered beautiful cardboard ashes boxes. This would have been perfect for my husband’s ashes as he was scattered in the river that flows past my house. The problem is at the time I had no idea that such things existed. I got a standard urn from the funeral director because he didn’t tell me any other options were available. Floating a beautiful box from the stone bridge upstream would have been much more dignified. (On the other hand it would have robbed me of the story about brushing him off when we got home in fits of giggles despite checking with for wind direction…) 
So I’m pleased there are FD’s out at events like the NFE – hopefully their clients will get the best advice for them in finding the right components for their farewell ritual. 
If you were at the NFE (National Funeral Exhibition) or if you weren’t please add any comments or questions below. 
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