I’ve got a lot of time for Poppy Mardell, who runs Poppy’s Funerals: The Modern Funeral Company.
Poppy wrote a particularly interesting piece in Huffington Post, Funerals: Why Do We Spend So Much? She answered the question in these words:
“The reason we blow money on funerals… is a mixture of the unstoppable pain we feel after a death, mixed with our complete inexperience of arranging a funeral, with a drop of terror at finding ourselves in an undertaker’s shop decked out in the style of Oliver Twist. We will go along with anything they suggest. Which is insane. Because whilst undertakers are often lovely people…they are running a business and they need to pay for the costs of the fleet of hearses, the chapels of rest, the embalmer’s salary. So they’re going to encourage you to buy the whole package.”
She is absolutely right, and it’s been clear to me for a long time that people pay too much for funerals because they are uninformed customers making what is usually a panic purchase.
There is also another reason, and that is the family dynamics, or psychology. Which family member is going to say: “Do we really need to spend so much on mother’s funeral?” Who would risk the recrimination of wanting to save money on the funeral, or the shame of the implicit lack of money to pay for it?
My Last Song was created to inform people of the choices they had, to encourage people to plan ahead, thereby turning our visitors into informed customers of the funeral trade and able to make a more rational rather than panic purchase.
We also knew of the problems of ensuring that funeral wishes – let’s say wanting a green funeral, or a humanist celebration of life, or having a message read or played to the gathering – were recorded and fulfilled.
That’s why we spent a lot of time, and money, creating a digital Lifebox in which funeral wishes can be stored securely, available only to close family members. The Lifebox does more than store your funeral wishes, it helps you record everythin that was important about your life that you want future generations to know about you…a sort of digital immortality.
Use your Lifebox properly and not only will your funeral be remembered for the right reasons, but your life as well. It’s the least you can do for your family.