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My dear friend and work colleague of many years was, unfortunately, diagnosed with a terminal brain illness.  While she still had all her mental faculties we sat  on her verandah one warm afternoon and together with her husband, we created her funeral ceremony.  About a year later Margaret passed away peacefully, and in due course I conducted the service which we had written.  Whilst the events were tragically sad for all concerned, the funeral was somehow uplifting and satisfying because all present knew that Margaret had contributed greatly to its format.  I often wonder if there is a sensitive way to convey this story to a wider audience, so that more people might benefit from the comforts that flow from this process.

Hi Rob,

 When we meet at the conference I will happily introduce you to a couple of members who have embraced the challenge of speaking with the public about how they can plan their own funeral. I attended one public forum and was impressed by the thirst for knowledge by those present and it was good to hear their concerns. I think more people think about their own funeral than we realise but simply dont know how to go about putting their thoughts into action.


What an unexpected thrill it was to have my OPD poem published in the newsletter.  I have gladly accepted the challenge to create poem with a funeral theme to be read at the conference.  Here it is.

The Loved One     by Rob Hughes


John would have loved his funeral,

A truly great affair,

So many came to celebrate

A life beyond compare.


John was an upright family man,

A stoic boss at work,

A bloke you could depend upon,

His duties, never shirked.


Six months ago the bad news came

which brought John to his knees.

His minor illness flared into

A terminal disease.


Confronting such an awful fate,

John’s consternation grew,

And he sought a funeral celebrant,

To see the business through.


The celebrant was a member

Of the FC double A.

A tried and true professional.

John could tell that straight away.


She comforted the family

In this tragic, stressful time,

And created a fine service

With John’s spirit in each line.


In due course, John departed.

Of course, everyone felt blue,

But the celebrant was well prepared

To help them bid adieu.


They watched a slide show, reminisced,

And played John’s favourite song,

Then saluted his achievements,

And his sense of right and wrong.


John’s daughter gave the eulogy,

His cousin read a verse.

And when the curtains closed on John,

The visitors dispersed.


They met nearby for tea and cakes

Continuing the bond.

Of such a good and honest man,

Their memories were fond.


Yes. John would have loved his funeral,

Swapping yarns with friends,

But he’s moved on… to a better place.

Our world, John now transcends.     © 2015

I've misplaced details of the crematorium meeting on Aug 27.  Can this information be added to the FCAA website please.


©Lou Szymkow 7/2/2017

The air is still
The birds are silent
My loved one has gone
but my heart, is defiant
My soul is in wreaking pain
as I blindly seek for you in vain
You were taken from my now empty arms
I yearn for you, and all of your charms
My life must go on; Please, why are you gone!
Come back to me
Come back to me
You were my life, my only destiny.

I fall to my knees
My heart about to burst
What is this pain, this despicable curse
How do I survive,
when I myself no longer feel worthy to be alive
Why has the sun so dimmed, how have I so sinned

That I should deserve to be so empty and bleak
I’ll rest here in your casket’s shadow, I’m so lonely and so weak

Words have been spoken but none fell to my ears
The curtains have closed and a friends’ arm appears
I rise to my feet, still so empty and so very weak
I struggle to walk, I don’t want to hear them speak,
I must go through the motions of living you know
But this pain will remain until I myself go,
Go to that place where we shall always be together
That mystical place of forever and ever.

Funeral and Burial Instructions

Great article on the Victorian Law Reform Commission webpage

What will happen to your body when you die?

Have you written instructions for your funeral and burial? Or have you been involved in a family dispute about the funeral of a loved one?

The Victorian Law Reform Commission has completed an inquiry into funeral and burial instructions in accordance with section 5(1)(b) of the Victorian Law Reform Commission Act 2000 (Vic), which empowers the Commission to initiate inquiries into legal issues of general community concern, provided they are limited in size and scope.

The report was released on 15 December 2016. Download it from the link below.

Watch our video on the issue of funeral and burial instructions which explains why funeral and burial instructions are important, what the law says and how the law could change. (5 min 15 sec). 

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/SpwNWEh0sgQ/hqdefault.jpg?custom=true&w=196&h=110&stc=true&jpg444=true&jpgq=90&sp=68&sigh=JLq0d49bjM1Px_zePUiSZJ-XsrA 5:16

Funeral and Burial Instructions


Currently the law gives the executor or likely administrator of a deceased person’s estate the right to decide what happens to a deceased person’s body, regardless of the deceased person’s wishes. The Commission is considering the extent to which a deceased person’s wishes about their funeral, burial or cremation should be legally binding.

The law emerged in 19th-century England. At that time, cremation was widely thought to be illegal and the law presumed that everyone wished to have a Christian burial.

The Commission is concerned that the law may no longer accord with community values. Today’s Victorians, with their diverse cultural practices, complex family arrangements and support for individual choice, may want greater recognition of their wishes concerning their funeral, burial or cremation.

Follow the links below to download the report and other documents relating to the funeral and burial instructions project.

Funeral and Burial Instructions: Report (pdf)

This report concludes a community law reform project considering whether Victorians should be permitted to leave funeral and burial instructions that...

Read more here