Death, and the "right way" to say goodbye to a loved one, are things I have been thinking about all my life. When I was ten, my great-grandma died and I wasn't allowed at the funeral. It was a burial at sea, so there was no grave to go to later to bid my farewell. Even as a child, I could feel that something was not quite right here, something was missing. The grown-ups around me didn't notice that at all. Little me started taking walks on cemeteries, imagining knowing the people laying there to rest, sometimes putting flowers on random graves.
My fascination with death and grief never went away, and during my studies of cultural anthropology I learned more about our traditions and rites surrounding death. And I understood where that percieved lack came from: we don't treat death as a part of life. Dying should happen in private, grief is shameful, there is no space for creativity and vitality. And neither the laws nor the cultural practice have changed much since Prussian times.
A series of deaths in my closest surroundings confirmed these findings, but also provided me with a very valuable experience:
It can be different. There are people who handle it differently, who show us ways to shape our rites of farewell, and do what is right for us. Bringing life back into this time of grief. You are allowed to laugh confronted with the absurdity of our mortality. Or to laugh during the eulogy, when a funny story you shared comes up. You are allowed to cry. You are allowed to take your time, and to do things yourself: carry the urn, say something, or just decide on how the farewell should be.
The challenge, and gift, of helping with terminal care for two people I loved a lot has shown me that in death, life can suddenly and unexpectedly shine through. And it can be very consoling and helpful for everyone involved to take the situation in your own hands and consider death and farewell as a part of life we can actively shape.
Things are slowly changing in the funeral business in Germany. More and more funeral homes embrace a more individual and personal approach.
And so I decided to turn my back on education politics, that had been my job for 12 years, and instead of political speeches, deliver heartfelt eulogies about loved humans.
As of December 2022, I am also a funeral director and part of Magnolia Bestattungen.
As a eulogist, I am happy to work with any funeral home - but I am of course also happy to helo you with everything!