Peter's Story

Arranging a funeral when neither of you are very keen is not easy. Where to start? When my husband Peter was diagnosed out of the blue, we knew it would be a short journey but we had time to discuss what, until now, had always been something we put aside. I wanted Peter to be involved so that I would know he approved. I didn’t want men in black suits with solemn faces, that was just not our style.

“The idea of holding it at home really appealed strongly to us"

My search then started on the internet to see if I could find a company of women funeral directors. I quickly found Poppy’s. They would come to West London but what was the outstanding factor for us both was that on their website they said the farewell could be held anywhere, including your home. The idea of holding it at home really appealed strongly to us both, an informal farewell surrounded by a small group of family and friends and the coffin covered with things we loved and which were familiar to us both.

On the day three things really stood out. I remember standing in the kitchen in the early morning preparing food for the lunch, the sun was shining through the window and I just knew I was in the right place, doing the right thing. That peace got me through the day. Secondly, I was able to help bring the coffin into the house, helped by friends and neighbours and Poppy’s staff. The coffin was then covered by a favourite quilt I had made, candles, flowers and photos. It felt very personal but it was also very relaxed. And thirdly, I had asked everyone who came to write a few lines, a memory of something related to Peter and, where possible, to stand up and read them out. I wanted to give everyone a chance to be involved. Beforehand several were sceptical but afterwards so many said to me how personal and warm and inclusive it felt to them.

What advice would I give to others facing this? If at all possible discuss it together in advance. After your loved one has died it is a really tough time. If you know at least roughly what you want to do that is a big help. Also do what feels true to you. You won’t please everyone but if you feel at peace and know you are doing what your partner would have wanted then that will give you courage. I think Peter would have enjoyed his final day in our home and the memory of it still makes me smile. Thank you Poppy’s.

Peter's Choices

  • We chose to hold the service at home
  • We invited a small group of family and friends
  • Friends and neighbours helped to carry the coffin
  • The coffin was covered by a favourite quilt and things we loved
  • Everyone shared a memory of Peter
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