Workshop came just in time for an earlier than expected death

Following on from our last post, the options for coffins is also on the rise with this story from South Australia by Ben Nielsen noting that: Eco-friendly coffins on the rise as Australians look to reduce their environmental footprint, (ABC News, 24 May 2020). 

The story relates how Jan Abel was able to honour her husbands wishes for a green burial in an eco-friendly coffin.  And it happened much sooner than she expected.  We never know when we’re gonna go.

This was all made possible because she ‘and her partner Murray were among a dozen people who signed up to an eco coffin-making workshop with the hope of reducing their environmental footprint — in both life and death.’

The project is the brain child of Abby Buckley 

At the first session, Jan and Murray — from Gawler, South Australia — began creating shrouds using natural fibres and designing flat-pack coffins. Murray’s sketch featured a vibrant symmetrical motif incorporating his life’s many passions.

“I’m not ready to go yet so, say in ten or 15 years’ time, what’s your role?” he asked doula Helen Roberts, who he wanted to help with his end-of-life planning.

“I hope in 20 years’ time I’ll still be there [to help],” she replied. “I don’t want to die tomorrow, but I might.”

Just days after their conversation, Murray had a heart attack and died.

“He was a lovely person. We had so much fun,” Ms Abel said.

The good folks who operate in the end-of-life, death care space, have been quietly going about their business making the point that: it’s never to early to get ready for the inevitable. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.  Let’s face it tomorrow may never come.  When we’re dead we don’t know about it, but those left standing have to deal with the after math and we owe it to them to get our affairs and in this case our funeral arrangements sorted, right down to the nitty gritty of the coffin.

Ben Neilson notes that the workshop organised by Abby Buckley, ‘was quickly booked out when it launched in October and has since moved online due to social gathering restrictions.’

“It’s actually worked to our advantage — having the pandemic and people being able to be in their own cocoon and own space to really think about what death is for them and how they want to their body to be treated when they die.”

Participants have shared their creations — made by crocheting, sewing, felting and painting — and received online talks from experts about dying sustainably.

“In Australia, the majority of people are really trying hard to change their ways to live a sustainable life,” Ms Buckley said.  “We’re trying to move from a fossil fuel economy to a renewable economy … And yet, it’s like all that thinking goes out the window when we die.”

“We’re learning a dialogue, we’re becoming more informed so that when we are working with the professionals in this industry, it’s easier for them because they can have a more empowered conversation.”

Read the full story at this linkEco-friendly coffins offer more choice

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