Despite the fact that death is the one guaranteed event in everyone’s life, many people in Ireland feel uncomfortable about discussing death, and how to handle it. A new book, SAY FAREWELL YOUR WAY, aims to change all that. Written by Jennifer Muldowney, it is full of practical information on digital legacies, traditional funerals, cremations, organ donation and alternative funerals and casts a refreshing light on a taboo subject.
In a recent survey, it was revealed that almost two thirds of participants had not thought about their funeral wishes. Jennifer hopes to encourage conversation about death, dying and loss in Ireland today.
According to Irish Times' writer Colette Sheridan, after interviewing Jennifer Muldowney, author of SAY FAREWELL YOUR WAY, ‘Planning your own funeral may seem morbid but it’s actually a thoughtful and organised exercise that will save your next-of-kin a whole lot of trouble.’
This is a recently published book which deals with the issue of funeral planning. The author is a 30 year old woman who lives in Dublin and who runs a specialist funeral business planning funerals. Although she did not grow up surrounded by death and neither has she lost a large number of people close to her, she considers herself to be a reflective and thoughtful person.
This book is a product of her reflection on contemporary funeral planning and explores how one might be guided or directed to deal with practical matters at at time when one is easily and understandably distracted by grief and pain. The purpose of her book she states is ‘not to frighten’ but rather to ‘prepare’. Muldowney asserts that is only when one accepts that death is a reality and can happen to any of us, at any time that one truly begins to live.
Written in a simple and straight-forward manner, this book looks comprehensively at the many issues that a person is faced with when either planning their own funeral or that of a loved one. Muldowney includes a lot of practical advice and direction on sever aspects of funeral arrangements, ranging from: choosing a burial place – whether to bury a person or have them cremated; ought there to be a eulogy at the service or not; to what kind of food might be served after the service. Moreover, her book reminds the reader of the many legal items that need to be attended to immediately after a death and indeed in the longer term.
In chapter two, Muldowney states that if one is reading the book then it is likely that someone close to the reader has just died. Although this could be true, it is doubtful that the first thing anyone would do in the immediate aftermath of a death, is grab a book, any book to read. Although she includes information here at this point about contacting doctors, solicitors, the Gardaí, it is highly probable that this will have already been done before a person would come to read this book. What follows on from that chapter would however be useful to someone who had been bereaved,
In conclusion, I contend that this is quite a useful resource for parishes, funeral directors and anyone considering pre-planning a funeral.