I helped to organise the funeral for a 14-year-old boy who died of an accidental drug overdose. His favourite food was Cheerios cereal. We had big bowls of Cheerios at his graveside and all the guests sprinkled them over his coffin along with or instead of earth. Then we let off huge fireworks. Before that we arranged for his body to be brought home and he lay tucked up in his bed for a couple of days. His mother said it helped her so much to have time to say goodbye – his death had been so sudden.
When my father died this year in a care home, I asked if his body could stay in his bed until the next morning. The home managers reacted very badly and said No, they had never been asked such a thing. They were completely shocked. I did, however, manage to get time for my friends to join me in singing him “over the threshold”.