Wednesday, 22 June 2011

We interrupt this broadcast...

A miracle has happened! We have finally exchanged contracts in the not-so-enjoyable game of house buying/selling, which has gone on far, far longer than we could possibly have imagined. But now, it has finally come together - hooray! So, this time next week, the removal men will be (carefully) packing their van with our belongings, in between (several) cups of tea and (one too many) biscuits. And we'll be on our way to our new home!
So, I'm going to be taking a little break for a few days from the land of Blogs - both in terms of posting and commenting - in order to get ourselves from A to B in the smoothest way possible. And hope (with all my might) that the promised broadband support will show itself on arrival, as promised, and normal service can resume. I look forward to communicating with you all from the new Comfort Blanket HQ some time very soon!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Friday, 10 June 2011

From little acorns...

I've just returned home from leading a funeral ceremony in a garden. The garden belonged to the much-loved man we were there to pay tribute to. It was filled with a colourful array of flora and fauna, family and friends, as well as his three little dogs who sat at my feet during the whole service. At the end we planted a nine-year-old oak tree sapling, which this man had grown from an acorn.
The combination of saying farewell to this seemingly wonderful man, in the garden which was the heart of his home, as the birds sang, the sun shone, and everyone shared stories and laughter, has left me feeling so uplifted I barely know what to do with myself.
And what did everyone say to me afterwards? "I had no idea you could do this sort of service in your own garden. I wish I'd known when my mum/dad/husband/friend died..."
Yes - you can have this sort of service and I wish more people did. We're a nation of garden lovers after all. We did have a short committal service at the crematorium beforehand, for the immediate family. But the garden ceremony was the opportunity to have all the tributes, poems, readings, speakers, the family wanted, without having to squeeze it in to a 20 minute slot. And it was perfect.
Hopefully, the more this type of two-fold ceremony takes place, the more other people will embrace the idea. There may not be many just yet, but from little acorns...

Sunday, 5 June 2011

There IS life after death

Almost every funeral ceremony I write does, at some point, promote the belief that while there is a part of our loved one that cannot remain with us, there is also a part of them that lives on in our hearts and lives. I refer, of course, to the life and love we shared, the memories we have in common, and the influence they had on our lives. But your loved one could also live on in the hearts and lives of complete strangers, who never even knew of their existence until they ceased to exist.
I'm talking about organ donation. That final act of generosity almost all of us are all capable of fulfilling, but only 28% of us have signed up to (according to the Organ Donation Register). I know that agreeing to donate your organs is very much a personal choice. But for me, it's something that doesn't take too much thinking about. If I am dead and someone else's life, or quality or life, could be saved and improved by using the organs I have finished with, then please take them. The thought of my heart beating life into someone else's body, or my eyes being used to see the world once again, has no negative connotations. In fact, I think it is rather beautiful and extremely comforting.
The Organ Donation website at  is great. As well as information on how to quickly and easily register, there are also lots of really interesting statistics, true-life stories and frequently-asked questions. I know organ donation can be a sensitive and emotional issue, and it's not really my place to try to influence you if your mind is set against it for whatever reason. But, as at today's date, there are currently 7,548 people waiting for a transplant. So, whether you have a donor card or not, I think it's certainly worth a click...