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As published in the Edinburgh Evening News 10 May 2021, Andrew Purves encourages people to start a conversation about death and dying with loved ones, make some decisions, so they will have the best plan in place before they die.

If Covid‐19 has taught us anything, it is that precious life can be taken away sooner than we may have hoped. In the UK, we have recorded one of the highest rates of excess deaths in the world. Tragically, in Scotland in 2020, we’ve experienced the highest number of peacetime deaths since 1891. While not a subject anyone wants to dwell on, so many more families have experienced loss during the pandemic.

In a time of great uncertainty, people reach out to funeral directors to take control of their affairs and put their funeral plans in place. This was particularly evident amongst those in their 50s and 60s who felt anxious due to the pandemic and sought the reassurance of having their funeral affairs in order.

Funeral planning costs nothing to do but having a plan set ahead of time removes an enormous amount of worry for people, not only the person making the plan but also those left behind who will be coping with a bereavement.

Setting out a plan of wishes gives you a chance to confirm what you would like for your send‐off ‐ from the big decisions, such as whether to have a burial or cremation, to smaller aspects like the music you would like to be played at the service. This is also the time to capture your life story and personalise an event which can bring great comfort to your friends and family at this sad time.

I know many people may find this unsettling, but it should not be the case. We need to normalise talking about death and dying as it is the one journey we will all make at some stage in our lives.

After decades in the industry, I have planned and delivered thousands of funeral services for people from all walks of lives. And hand on heart, I can say that some of the most meaningful goodbyes are those that have respected the wishes of the deceased. A well considered funeral brings about the most authentic celebration of a person’s life, whether that is a modest, quiet affair or a big, vibrant service live‐streamed far and wide.

As a vaccinated world becomes our new norm, I want to encourage people to make free plans to give them their desired funeral with the family secure that it is how their loved one wanted it. A template is available on our website. And while we can’t control when we go, we can control how our life is celebrated.

So why not take time this week to open up a conversation and give you and your loved ones peace of mind now and in future years.  Give me, or any of our funeral teams throughout Scotland and the North East of England a call today, or start the process now on our homepage -“Record a Plan of Wishes”.