An article from the Guardian
'How do you want to die?' Funeral director couple from Aldersbrook to run death cafe workshops as part of national awareness week.
A couple who run their own funeral service are asking people to explore their biggest fear and talk about how they want to die.
Allistair Anderson and Hasina Zaman, of Wanstead Park Avenue, Aldersbrook are running death café workshops across east London this week (May 9 to May 15) as part of a national campaign to encourage conversation about death, dying and bereavement.
As part of Dying Matters’ Big Conversation Week the funeral directors are launching their My Funeral Wishes service, which asks people at all stages of life to think about how they want to die.
Ms Zaman, 49, said: “Death is the most feared thing in the world, and it’s the fear of the unknown in particular that really scares us.
“But if you are willing to explore those fears and have that conversation, it not only reduces that fear, but makes life so much easier for your loved ones when you’re gone.”
Ms Zaman and her husband set up their own funeral service in 2012, to try to make life easier for bereaved families after experiencing the difficulties of end of life and funeral care first hand.
Mr Anderson, 46, said: “I have worked in this industry for over 20 years, and I’ve seen what a difficult time it can be.
“Death is like this huge juggernaut and you might think you can cope with it, but when it happens you become so overwhelmed by personal grief, that your loved one can end up with a funeral that’s not how they would have wanted it at all.
“I have loved being able to help people through that and knowing that carrying out those wishes might not bring someone back, but will make life so much easier for the people left behind.”
Ms Zaman added: “My brother died last year and I remember it being 10 days of complete mess - it was incredibly stressful not knowing what he would have wanted.
“The Government is trying to push the idea of a good death, but people don’t know what a good death is, or how death can be good at all.
“Only 15 per cent of people in the UK have a proper will written, because as a society we don’t want to think about it.
"But just one conversation can start breaking down those barriers - which is where our death cafes come in."
They couple also ran the Hackney half marathon on Sunday (May 8) and have raised £300 for St Joseph's Hospice.
For more information on this week's events, see the Compassionate Funerals website.