My close-up on 2017 is coloured by Kinship Ritual. So I’m taking up a viewpoint that I frequently see in the media and beginning with the words: ‘We live in an era of …’

A bespoke funeral is good for good people - their families, values, cultures.

We live in an era of awakening to the reality that Death is part of Life. Those I’ve worked with this year have been faced with death of dearly beloveds. They’ve chosen bespoke home/community funerals. Others I’ve worked with regularly come up against death through sad losses that the clients in their programs face.

Further, Kinship Ritual is part of a growing sphere where people to come together to talk about death. I’ve facilitated seasonal Death Cafes that have pulled a keen crowd. At Death Dinner Party where I was an invited guest speaker with a trans-humanist, there was a thrilling once-in-a-lifetime encounter between home funerals and artificial intelligence! Kinship Ritual’s workshop on home vigils at Melbourne’s Festival of Death & Dying built relationship over key elements of planning. Our installation at Groundswell’s Fed Square event forDying2Know Day centred on a colourful coffin and recycled shroud. ‘Death Matters’ workshops with CoHealth’s Victims Assistance Program are a chance for professionals to stop and engage with heart, head and hands over grief and loss.

We live in an era of a huge cohort of my peers ageing. Check out the growth in aged care on main roads near you! Kinship Ritual conducted research on how staff perceive the value of ritual and found they see it as grounding and enriching when a resident dies. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the work of not-for-profit Meaningful Ageing Australia. The organisation shares values that impel Kinship Ritual’s reason for being, wisdom, collaboration and engagement, and they bring them into training programs in Aged Care.

We live in an era of people asking questions and exploring deeply to find ethical responses and wisdom. This makes it an era of poetry. My readers love the poems I share. This recent post ‘Shakespeare in the Emergency Room’ by my colleague Jennifer Downs in Baltimore in the US lights me up!

Now’s the time we’d like to wrap up a year in a meaningful way. Plan and prepare and make something great. We’ve exploded the rituals of Christmas so they’re right for our families, values and culture. We’ve changed with the times. Let’s do the same with funerals. It’s a small thing to plan and prepare. I’m taking bookings for 2018 if you’d like to spend an hour sketching out what a bespoke event would look like.

We live in an era, like each era in which humans have gone about life, of mistakes and slip-ups. This makes it an era for a perspective beyond individualism. An era for apologies, forgiveness and appreciation.

I’m sorry. Thank you. I love you. See you in 2018!