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Q. When is a coffin NOT JUST a Coffin?

Q. When is a coffin NOT JUST a Coffin?

Q. When is a coffin NOT JUST a Coffin
A. When it Actively Helps the Family Process their Grief

As this is my first blog, I will start by introducing myself. I am Mike Nelson and my wife Marisa and I, run a small company called Carried Away Coffins.

We are 100% kiwi owned and we support local industry. Our coffins are made in Putaruru in the Waikato with outwork as far away as Pukekohe.
The traditional way to arrange a funeral in New Zealand was to call the undertaker, who would pick up the body, maybe have a viewing at the funeral home, attend the funeral and pay the undertaker.
Thank goodness that is changing! We are now seeing people supplying personal photographs of the deceased’s life and making comments at the funeral.
This is a great step forward but I am passionate about encouraging people to have even more involvement in the process. Some of my customers have decorated the coffins of their loved ones with things from felt tip penned comments to creative expressions like the examples below.

More photos can be seen on the gallery page of our website.

One thing that is often overlooked are the children. Kids are grieving just as much as adults, but often do not understand the feelings that they are having and have no outlet for their grief. My own Dad died when I was 7 and I had NOTHING to do with the funeral, in fact I was not even allowed to attend.

That took about 25 years and quite a lot of counselling to resolve, but that was how it was done back then, unfortunately.

Now there is the opportunity for kids to be involved in the process, like putting their thoughts or comments on the coffin, putting a secret message to Daddy (or whoever) under the lid of the coffin and even help to paint and decorate the coffin.

The one thing that I have become convinced about from my time in this company is that the more hands-on involvement that the closely bereaved have with the process the easier it is for them to say goodbye.
Short of making a coffin from scratch, which requires planning, specific skills and time, one of the best ways to involve yourself in the funeral process is to assemble the coffin, preferably with help from others who are also grieving.

I can recall one of my customers telling me about when he and his 3 brothers assembled their Mum’s coffin, they started about 10 o’clock and while they assembled the coffin, they shared memories of things that had happened with their Mum and funny stories about her life. I have no doubt that this session was not totally dry, as they did not get it finished until about 5 PM, a job that usually takes about an hour for a first timer. The comment back to me was that it was absolutely the best thing that they could have done.

We encourage all of our customers to opt for our flatpack coffins instead of having them come pre-assembled for this reason. Not surprisingly, it is also cheaper. All of our flatpack coffins are freight free to any town in New Zealand and of course you are not paying for the assembly either. If you have some thoughts on this that you would like to share, please feel free to leave comments below. Inappropriate comments will be removed.

Posted: Monday 11 March 2024


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