Art of Dying Art of Dying_Volume III_joomag | Page 19

the funeral. I’d been there several times before, either to enjoy a cup of tea with Jon in his garden or to discuss matters related to Death Cafe. Standing outside his house on the street in Hackney preparing to go in, we took a deep breath and knocked at the door. It was like Jon was there, only he wasn’t. He was there in his children’s faces, his sister’s eyes, his mum’s eyes features and his lovely wife Donna, who he had talked about with such pride whenever I saw him. “What will be the role of the funeral director?” Jon’s step-dad asked, as we all sat around the kitchen table discussing the funeral. “To be as unobtrusive as possible,” Alistair replied. “I’m here to facilitate you doing whatever you need to do.” I nodded at him. He was the perfect choice of funeral director - gentle, supportive and discreet. Jon's funeral took place in the beautiful setting of the Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London on Thursday 6th July.  Jon had managed the centre from 2000 to 2002 and had studied under Geshe Tashi, the centre's resident teacher.   It had been Jon's dream to hold funerals at the centre; he’d been busy putting together detailed plans for how that might work. With an irony he would have appreciated, it was the plans he’d put together that formed the foundation of his funeral. Jon arrived at the centre in an electric eco-hearse made by Brahms - a Nissan Leaf which had been converted into a hearse and was on its first ever outing as a vehicle available for hire for funerals. He was carried into the centre by his friends and colleagues from the funeral profession and the Death Cafe community.  Jon's rainbow willow coffin (from Ecoffins) stayed in the main temple space whilst everyone drank tea and ate homemade cake from Jamyang's beautiful cafe in the sunlit gardens, preparing for the funeral ceremony to take place. Jon's funeral took place in Jamyang's main temple space, a converted courthouse.  The ceremony was led by Geshe Tashi, who paid tribute to his LOUISE WINTER is a progressive funeral director and the founder of Poetic Endings – a modern funeral service creating funerals of style and substance, relevance and meaning in the UK. She's also the director of Life. Death. Whatever. - an award-winning festival and community that exists to change the dialogue around death and dying. In 2017, Louise won a Death Oscar at the Good Funeral Awards. @POETIC_ENDINGS WWW.POETIC-ENDINGS.COM student and friend of many years.  Jon's wife, mother, father, step-father, sister, brother and children all paid tribute to Jon with moving speeches.   After the funeral, everyone travelled to Jon's local pub, the Chesham Arms, on his street in Hackney to continue singing, playing music and sharing tributes.  Jon had been part of a community initiative to save the pub from being taken over by property developers and he lived just a few doors away. Jon was cremated the following day at the City of London Crematorium. Jon's funeral was beautiful, touching and personal.  It reflected how important Jon had been to so many different communities.  All of his family, including his two children, were involved in every part of the funeral from choosing his coffin to being part of the ceremony on the day. It was every bit as inspired, inspiring and memorable as Jon himself. VOLUME III | 19