Notes from the Undertaker, by guest poster Annette Lourigan

Ars Moriendi “The Art of Dying” is a gift that I wish all of us knew. It is the ability to die well, to die knowing that you are loved, knowing that you have control over what will happen to you as you transition from dying to death.

Not all of us get “Ars Moriendi”, many of us are thrown into the pages of grieving because life has served up an unimaginable tragedy and because we live in a culture that denies death the maze of end of life choices further adds to the abyss of pain. Dying to Know Day on August 8 is asking Australians to opening talk about death and dying, encouraging us to consider our own “death bed scene” and paint the picture that marks the day our legacy starts. 

Having been an Undertaker since 1997 I have experienced many times the raw emotion of the early stages of bereavement. Too often I have sat with people who do not know the very basic wishes of the person who has died, let alone what songs they should play at the service. I fear that I torture them during this vulnerable time as I ask my endless list of questions that allow me to hold a funeral and bury or cremate a person in Queensland.  I wonder if the task of choosing music, preparing orders of service, deciding on photos for the tribute really allows them the intimate space that they need to absorb the first pages of grief.

Every now and then I have the wonderful experience of witnessing the peace of a family who understand all their choices for a funeral services, they are always the people who have been able to absorb that a death is near and real. These are the people who have bravely listened as their dying family member has told them what they need for a funeral service. I never worry if I have given them enough time to make choices; these are the person who keep control of their family rituals and ensure the funeral service reflects the life and love that was lived; they are the people who witness the love that comes with the “Art of Dying”.

On Dying to Know Day, take up the opportunity to have the conversation about your wishes for your end of life and take the time to listen to the wishes of the people who you love, because when it comes to weaving the final threads in your life tapestry they should blend with the threads of your life.


Annette is a funeral director in Queensland - You can read about Annette's Dying To Know event  'Fact for Thought' below and here.

Metropolitan Funerals will be hosting "Facts for Thought" a seminar designed for all people who are studying, working in or volunteering for the Aged Care or Health Care Sector of End of Life services.

Speakers from DonateLife, the University of Queensland Body Bequest Program and Palliative Care Advocates will provide factual information on their areas of expertise. The event is designed to ensure that people who assist families through the 'end of life journey" can feel confident that the information they are sharing is factual.

  • Ms Carol Jones- The University of QLD Body Donor Program Administrator
  • Ms Alana Cresswell - Donate Life QLD Education Manager
  • Mr John Haberecht- Director of Learning and Development CPCRE
  • Fiona Hawthorn- Churchill Fellow – Perinatal Palliative Care
  • Ms Toni Boydston- Manager of Metropolitan Funerals

Annette Lourigan   |   0409 793 818

Venue: Metropolitan Funerals 224 Newnham Rd, Mt Gravatt QLD

Time: Registration from 9am, starting at 9.30

Kerrie NoonanComment