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On my ministry training we went through the experience of writing a funeral for a peer... which of course meant ours too was written by a peer.

It was a strange thing to consult on my own funeral and required some level of acceptance of death. It brought up a lot for me... not least that as a society we've made death the enemy.

I engaged my whole family in the process and we had lots of conversations about various aspects of my death and funeral, from how I wanted the time of death to be (peaceful, quiet, perhaps with a Threshold choir), to what I would choose for my physical body and the readings and music I wanted in my funeral ceremony. The discussions even inspired some conversations with my daughter and her friend... who came up with a strap line for a proposed funeral business 'putting the fun in funerals'

I'd always thought I'd be cremated... not sure why... maybe it was because it had been common in my family... or I didn't fancy being buried... but when I looked into it I realised how unsustainable a solution it is (with the energy used being equivalent to what you'd use in a month if you were alive... and the air pollution) so I started looking at alternatives.

Around that time I ran a Death Cafe with a friend and she'd decided to give her body to medical science... noble and worthy, but not an alternative that appealed to me.

I looked into various ways the body is dealt with at death... natural woodland burial and even sky burials... although not sure being eaten by the buzzards and eagles is an actual thing you can arrange on Skye!

And then I came across an article in Resurgence and Ecologist magazine about composting the body...

I had joked to the kids that they could just chuck me in the hotbin... but here was an actual solution! A kind of hotbin type process where the body is put in a sealed container and heated with organic material. The body becomes soil in 30 days and with a further 30 days of 'curing' the soil is ready to return to the earth...

But as yet this solution only seems possible in the US...

And then recently, in a study group I'm part of, where we look at all different aspects of a living in a 'circular community', I was presented with another option. This option would not only allow me to return my body, my cells, to the earth, cells made from the same elements as the earth, but also would cleanse them on the way.

I'd never really considered before that because of the way we live our bodies are full of toxins... and so giving our bodies to the earth through composting or woodland burial, also gives the toxins to the earth.

But this new option uses mycelium... mushrooms... not only to accelerate the decomposure process but also to cleanse the body of the toxins on their way back into the earth...

If you are interested in going through a similar process to look at your death... even before it feels in sight... and would be interested in working with me on the incredibly healing task of reviewing life, looking at death and consciously considering all aspects of it, please be in touch!

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