How to still feel connected to someone after they die

In this article we are going to look at some of the ways that connections can be maintained with someone after they have died. These continuing bonds take many forms and there are lots of possibilities.

In the past, there may have been a tendency to encourage people “to move forward rather than dwelling on the past” after a significant bereavement.  We now know that this advice can be unhelpful and make people feel isolated and poorly understood. It is now accepted that finding ways to feel an ongoing connection and bond after someone has died recognises the changed nature of a relationship after bereavement and can help people find their own personal way to grieve.

The word ‘personal’ is important here because, just as every relationship is unique, maintaining a connection is a very individual thing. What works for some people will definitely not help someone else. With that in mind, the following ideas are intended to inspire and provoke your own thoughts rather than being prescriptive. We hope you find them helpful.


People tell us that they have found it helpful to have a favourite photograph in a special place, perhaps next to a much-loved chair or on a shelf where it is easy to glance across at it often. Some people like to spend time creating an album of photographs, letters, tickets and other memories.

Personal items

Wearing a favourite piece of jewellery, whether it was a gift from the person who has died or an item that belonged to them, can create a very personal and enduring connection. Other personal items such as items of clothing, paintings, creative items or things that the person loved, can have the same comforting effect. Memorial jewellery can also be specially made.

Talking to them

So many people have told us that they take great comfort from talking to the person who has died. Often they feel embarrassed to admit that they do this but it is in fact a very common way to maintain a bond and something that people find incredibly helpful.

These conversations may happen spontaneously or in a more planned way – maybe taking place during visits to a special place.  Conversations may be about sharing news, talking about worries or problems or asking questions,

Talking about them

Other people can find it difficult to know what to say following a bereavement. They may not know how helpful it can be to talk about the person who has died. By bringing the person up in conversation, it can make it easier for you and them. It can also be helpful to talk about the person to new people, sharing the things that were special about them.

Sharing stories, reflecting on what someone might have said or thought in certain situations or remembering what was important to them are all powerful ways to make that person part of your present.

Writing letters or journalling

Journaling is often used when people are grieving as a way of processing emotions and thoughts. Writing letters to the person that has died is a similar idea and can be a useful way to stay connected as your own life moves forward, allowing you to share events, news and feelings.

Being creative

In a similar way to writing letters, creative writing such as poetry can be a helpful way to express emotion. Creativity can take many forms and our Art After Loss exhibitions are evidence of the fact that art can be a very positive vehicle when people are grieving. You can find out more about this on our Art After Loss page on our website which includes an online gallery of creative works made in response to loss.

Special days and places

Significant days like birthdays and anniversaries can be an opportunity to continue doing something which you enjoyed doing together or to take time out for a trip or favourite activity. There may also be places which you liked to visit together and these can be comforting at any time, not just on anniversaries.


Listening to music is an excellent way to connect with our emotions. Some pieces of music may have particular significance for your relationship. You may even want to create your own music in memory of someone who has died. Find out more about music for wellbeing.

A favourite song, or piece of music which was played during a significant event may immediately create a strong feeling of connection to the person who has died.  Playing this music might be consoling but it may also catch you unawares while you are going about your day – which can be challenging.

Organising an event

Sometimes a death can inspire an event in memory of the person who has died and this may become a regular celebration of their life or the things that mattered to them. It might also a way to raise money for a charity that meant a lot to them or supported them during their life.

Continuing their work or ideas

If the person who has died was in the middle of a project, some people find it helpful to complete it for them. Perhaps they were making a model, putting together a family album or a family tree, training for a sporting challenge, raising money for a charity or planning a trip they had always wanted to take.

All of these ideas are simply that, and some will be more helpful than others. You may have formed your own continuing bonds and we would love to hear from you about ways you have been able to stay connected to someone after they have died. Everyone’s journey through grief is different and each person’s story can have the power to inspire somebody who may be struggling.

Read more on this topic and explore some continuing bonds activities that maintain positive memories after loss.  

If you would like support following bereavement please visit our bereavement support page on our website.

You can contact us to discuss any aspect of bereavement or funeral planning and wishes or to share your own story.

By Sara Fixter – Funeral Director at FCFP Altrincham

In a time where teenagers and young people form strong relationships online, we need to be able to support them after someone with whom they have an important connection with, has died.  This “digital grief” or “digital bereavement” can have a significant impact on those impacted and we consider how best to offer support in these circumstances.

Respecting the nature and depth of online friendships

Teenagers and young people typically spend a lot of time online, using social media, gaming platforms or other online communities.   Some of these online relationships can develop into friendships that are as deep and as meaningful to them as any non-online friendship.  The anonymity associated with being online may mean that young people are more able and willing to be open and unguarded.

Online relationships provide a way for individuals to connect with others without the pressure of face-to-face interactions. Experiencing a loss of such relationships can be bewildering and lead to feelings of loneliness and distress.  If this bond was private then there is also a risk that the young person may be unintentionally excluded from the funeral or other helpful activities.

Not everyone will understand

Technology is moving so quickly, and we need to accept that not everyone immediately grasps the importance and validity of online friendships.  It hard for young people to find support if they believe that the value and depth of their online relationships are not respected by others.

Sharing how they are feeling with others in their online community can help but, as with any community, not everyone will be supportive.   In extreme circumstances there is a risk that a young person may experience “disenfranchised grief” – a sense that their grief isn’t socially acceptable or is something to be ashamed of.

The first and most important way to prevent this happening is for us all to respect and validate online friendships – only when we do that will the young people we want to support believe that we can support them after bereavement.

Rituals and memorials

Loss and grief are always a unique and personal experience.  Furthermore, there are no well-worn conventions to follow after the death of an online friend.  The person who is grieving is unlikely to be invited to the funeral and even if they are, the event might not reflect the life of the person as they knew them.

We believe that attending a funeral and talking about the person who has died with others who knew them is helpful.  When these opportunities are not as readily available, it may be helpful to explore other ways to acknowledge the loss of an important life and to engage in activities which support the development of continuing bonds.

If the person who died was part of a strong online community, then the group may plan a virtual send-off that pays tribute to the person as everyone in that community knew them.

Memorial pages on social media can be helpful to some, but Facebook only allows memorial pages to be set up by someone with a death certificate which means the whole character of the page may differ from their virtual persona.

Continuing bonds

Continuing Bonds Theory says that when someone dies our relationship with them does not end, but it slowly changes over time.  The bond can remain just as strong, and some activities and rituals may help to establish and maintain the development of these bonds.

There are many individual and group activities which support the development of continuing bonds after someone has died.  Places, times, objects, songs and pictures can all be powerful and meaningful – if ideas and opportunities can be shared with the young person, then they can choose to engage in a way that feels helpful and right for them.

Finding support

Losing an online friend is a genuine loss that can be felt deeply and should never be regarded as inferior to other forms of grief. The grieving process is the same and professionals understand the emotions felt and how to offer support.

There are some excellent online bereavement support groups and grief websites suitable for young people experiencing loss.  Please get in touch if you have any specific questions, or need some advice about where you might find the support you need – we are here to help.


Teenage Grief Sucks – Grief Support by & for Teens

The Good Grief Trust: Coping with losing a friend – The Good Grief Trust

Young Minds: Dealing with grief and loss | Mental health advice | YoungMinds

Bereavement support

The Counselling and Family Centre (CFC)

Bereavement Support Group – Wednesdays 7-8.30pm. Therapist led. Email [email protected] for a Zoom invitation.

Full Circle Funerals Online Bereavement Support Group

First Wednesday of every month 5.30 to 7.30pm

Tel: 0161 928 6080 for more information

Cruse Bereavement Support, contact your local branch:

Contact your local branch – Cruse Bereavement Support

Sue Ryder – offer free personalised expert grief support by text

Human composting, also known as natural organic reduction (NOR), is an alternative to burial or cremation that’s  currently available in some parts of the US. Full Circle Funerals has been supporting Yorkshire lawyer Ian, who’s arranged for his body to be composted, when he dies.  Here he shares with us why he chose this natural approach, and how he discussed his choices with his family.

When did you start to think about the type of funeral you wanted?

Following the death of a neighbour and serious illness in my family, when I turned 70 my own mortality suddenly hit me in the face, and I began to dwell on my death. It made me feel rather depressed, if I’m honest, but it also led me to think about what would happen to my body after I died. I’ve been to a few cremations and was unimpressed, at some, by the fact that they seemed to be no more than a conveyor belt type of service, which was rather impersonal, in my experience, with the Celebrant clearly not knowing the person at all. That said, I’ve attended two, beautiful, cremation services, in Churches, one, in fact, the neighbour’s, arranged by Full Circle, which is why I made contact with them. I also have a bit of a strange phobia of being 6ft under.

The Recompose composting vessel is a steel cylinder, 8 feet long and 4 feet tall., that transforms human bodies into soil. The vessel rests inside of a hexagonal frame. Each body is placed into the vessel on a bed of wood chips, alfalfa, and straw.
Photo Credit: Recompose

What led you to consider human composting as an option?

I read an article about human composting, in the Guardian, a couple of years ago, to which I was immediately attracted, so I was aware of this as an alternative. I’m quite environmentally aware, and like to be forward thinking, and I was an early adopter of the electric car, for example.  Despite this, and the fact that I’m known for being a bit of a non-conformist, when I mentioned human composting to my family, they thought I was absolutely bonkers!

Did you consider any other alternatives?

I looked into human composting in more detail and also looked at other processes such as aquamation, which Archbishop Desmond Tutu had, but, although the equipment is made in Leeds, this isn’t available in the UK, just yet. There’s a freeze-drying/shattering process too, I discovered, but I don’t think that’s got off the ground. I was interested in the Sikh tradition of open pyre funerals, which again involves a natural process, above ground. Following a High Court case that permitted them on religious reasons, I understand they’re now available in Northumbria, but apparently only for Sikhs. My wife and I visited two natural burial grounds, in Yorkshire, but these still involve being buried, somewhat deep underground, which I don’t want.

A posed dummy with plant material demonstrates how the decedent’s body is placed in a Recompose cradle during a laying-in ceremony, just before the soil transformation process begins.
Photo Credit: Recompose

How did you go about researching and planning for natural organic reduction?

I’m using a company called Recompose in Seattle, WA, USA. My wife did say that she’d prefer my remains to stay in Yorkshire, but we discussed it, and I explained that a traditional funeral service isn’t something I want, as an agnostic. I want to be neither buried, nor cremated, and prefer for my remains to be returned back to nature, as soil, on the surface of the Planet, in a beautiful landscape, and I don’t want anyone to feel any obligation to make a pilgrimage to visit and tend a grave, whatsoever.

The environmental impact is quite important to me too. Cremations use a lot of natural gas, and release a lot of CO2 etc, and cemeteries use valuable land, that’s in short supply, that could be used for other purposes. I had to confirm that my body could be transported to the US without being embalmed, as that would mean that it couldn’t be composted. I’m pleased to say that this is possible, thanks to David Billington’s researches. The only aspect with a carbon footprint is the flight, but I’ve kind of  justified that to myself in the knowledge that the flight would be going anyway, and it won’t be being arranged just for me. By being a relatively early adopter of this process, in due course, I hope that in the future it will be available more widely, particularly in the UK, so that there’s no need to travel overseas.

How does human composting work?

The whole process is very natural and beautiful. My body will be laid in a cradle within a honeycomb structure above ground and be covered with plant material, including alfalfa, wood chips and straw. I’ve chosen some of my favourite music to be played during my “laying in”. Over the next 30 days, microbes that occur naturally in our bodies and the environment will transform my body into nutrient-dense soil. The whole process is very in tune with people and nature. The soil can be returned to relatives if they live in the US, but I’ve chosen for mine to be used in a mountain re-wilding project near Seattle.

The lifecycle of human to soil allows us to return to the natural ecosystem
Image Credit: Olson Kundig

How have you found the process of choosing and setting out your funeral wishes?

It’s been an extremely positive process. I don’t have to worry any more about what will happen to my body after I die, so I’ve no fear of dying now, and it’s really helped me to know what is going to happen in the end, and, until then, I intend to live life to the fullest.

David, at Full Circle, was very friendly, understood my concerns and phobias, helpfully listened to my needs, did the necessary research, and liaised with Recompose, who are also great to work with.

I’ve signed up to Recompose’s “Precompose” plan, where I’m locked in at a fixed price, and pay a monthly instalment, by a direct debit, from my credit card. When I die, Full Circle will set the wheels in motion, in the UK, and send me to Recompose, who will take over from there. Of course, there’ll be additional fees to pay Full Circle, and I set aside a monthly sum, in a savings account specifically for that, so my wife won’t have to worry about finding that money when I go.

The NOR process is now legal in Washington State, California, Colorado and New York State (the most recent adopter). Who knows, legislation permitting, Recompose may one day open a Branch here. My Plan is transferrable to any of their locations, but, at present, I’m staying with their HQ in Seattle, a city I’ve visited, many years ago, and my son lives not too far away in Canada.

When someone is grieving it can be hard to know how best to help. We might tell them that we are there for them and ask if there’s anything we can do but often the person can’t articulate what they need.

A common practice is to bring food – we can show people that we care by taking the time to cook them something nutritious. This is a lovely gesture and is often warmly welcomed by people who might be struggling to think about feeding themselves and their families. A casserole can give them important nutrition at a time when they may be neglecting their wellbeing. A cake can be useful to offer people who drop in to offer condolences.  We also know that nutrition and hydration are important to support wellbeing after the physical and mental stress of bereavement.

Food is a practical way to help and there are plenty of other ways to give useful support after bereavement. Here are a few ideas and things that people have told us they have found helpful.

Tea and coffee

One alternative to bringing a cake or casserole is to make up a basket of teabags and ground or instant coffee, perhaps with a packet of nice biscuits too, that can be used for visitors.


Depending on the time of year, an offer to cut the lawn or tidy the garden might be very welcome. Rather than asking whether the person would like their lawn cutting, it might be more helpful to let them know that you cut your lawn on a certain day of the week and will pop across and do theirs for the next few weeks, while you have your mower out. This can make it easier for them to accept the gesture.


If there are young children in the family, an offer to take them to the park for a morning or help with school and activity runs is likely to be appreciated. Although they may want to involve their children in discussions about death and visits from well-wishers, the offer of a distraction for younger members of the family and help in maintaining their routine will be appreciated.

Walking the dog

Routine activities like walking the dog can feel like a huge effort following bereavement. An offer to call in once or twice a day to take the dog out is a down-to-earth way to show support. Once again, giving definite times and sticking to them will be extra helpful.

Stay in touch

If you don’t live close enough to offer practical day to day support, keep in touch with a regular phone call or visit. Remember to continue contact after the funeral and keep in mind that there is no timescale for grief. Your support and presence may be needed for some time to come.

A regular message asking – “How are you today?” lets them know that you are thinking of them and avoids asking that one big tricky question “How are you?”.

Arrange activities and outings

Everyone grieves in different ways and some people can take time before they are ready to resume things they used to enjoy doing. They may find it hard to be in group situations because they are worried about becoming emotional. Think about arranging safe activities that can be cancelled at short notice, such as a walk in the park or a trip to the beach.

Again, this is something that can continue for many months after the funeral and may even become a regular routine. When someone is grieving, it can be helpful simply to know that someone is calling in every other Friday for a walk or a cup of coffee, even if they don’t feel up to it on the day.

Don’t worry if your offers are rejected

Grief brings up all sorts of emotions and it can affect the way a person behaves from one day to the next. Try not to take it personally if your offers of help are turned down or if you unintentionally say something that is taken the wrong way. By continuing to be present, available and not taking offence, you will be providing support anyway.

Bereavement is a time of loss and change which is why the constant presence and support of friends and family members is so important. Gratitude may not always be apparent but in the long term, as the person adjusts to their new way of living, your dependability will make a difference.

If you are supporting someone who is bereaved there are some useful resources on our website that may help them. You can find details of creative activities and ways of remembering someone who has died on our page about continuing bonds. We also run a bereavement support group which is open to all.

You might be reading this because you are planning a funeral for someone who cared about the environment, or you may be thinking about sustainability for your own funeral.  This is quite a broad subject and one where we are actively engaged in gathering and sharing knowledge, to make such decisions easier in the future. In fact, we are currently undertaking research to generate more data which will help people make informed planet friendly choices about different aspects of a funeral.

In this article we have chosen to focus on 7 areas to think about when planning a funeral that has a low impact on the environment. There are many more and our team would be happy to discuss the topic in more detail, or answer specific questions you may have about funeral sustainability.

Choose to be unembalmed

Green burials, such as woodland burials (more on that in a moment), generally require bodies to be unembalmed. This is because the chemicals used in embalming have been found to seep into groundwater, which can be harmful to the environment. If you care about the planet, we recommend that you specify your preference not to be embalmed.

Green funeral travel

At Full Circle Funerals we have our own fully electric eco hearse which is a popular option for those looking to reduce their impact on the environment. In an ideal world, everyone attending the funeral would walk or cycle to the venue. A lot depends on the availability of locations which are easily accessible and the willingness of those attending. It does make sense to consider travel and transport carefully, providing plenty of information on public transport options and car sharing as much as possible. Since the covid pandemic we are all more comfortable with streaming funerals online. This could be offered to people who want to limit their impact on the environment and have a distance to travel, although being present at a funeral can be incredibly important in the grieving process and a person’s decision to travel should always be respected

Alternatives to cremation

Cremation is the most popular choice in the UK (78% of people who died in the UK in 2020 were flame cremated using gas) but the process has a high environmental impact due to the energy used and reliance on fossil fuels.  There are a number of alternatives to consider, although the choice in this country is still fairly limited. There are a good number of woodland burial sites, where burials take place in a natural woodland setting and the grave can be marked by planting a tree. Human composting and resomation (natural cremation with water) are other natural processes which have been designed to have low impact, although these are currently only available in the US. Watch this space, as there is growing interest and demand in the UK for green alternatives to cremation.

Eco caskets

We recently ran a successful Crowdfunder to fund research into how different coffin types impact the environment. This study is now being carried out by Planet Mark and will gather  data for ten common coffin choices, depending on whether they will be cremated (by flame or resomation) or buried (natural or traditional). The results will help people make more informed choices. In the meantime, eco caskets made from natural materials such as wicker and cardboard, which biodegrade easily, are popular options. There are of course many different variations on the market and some are greener than others, depending on where the materials have been sourced and the caskets made. If you need any more information to help you choose, we would be happy to help.


Green options for flowers and tributes

It is now fairly common to request charity donations instead of floral tributes at a funeral. If you do decide to have flowers, the greenest option is to choose locally grown seasonal blooms. Local growers can be found by visiting Flowers from the Farm or ask your florist to use local flowers. Other ideas include paperchains made by friends and family, paper flowers and handmade natural wreaths.

Planting a memorial tree or meadow

If you are considering the environment, you may prefer to plant a memorial tree or wildflower meadow as an alternative to a headstone or bench.

After the funeral

We know that travel contributes greatly to our environmental challenges and if people are regularly travelling long distance to a grave or other site to remember, then these miles can add up over the months and years.  Post funeral rituals are really important but it is helpful to consider options which require less travelling.  Choosing a place in a family garden for a memorial birdbath or rose bush, or a bench in a local park could be a beautiful and meaningful alternative.

If you would like to know more about green funerals read our blog or contact us  

You can also find out more here.

Someone recently described Full Circle as an ethical funeral director – and that got me thinking.  We have a very clear purpose and are a certified B Corp (Business for Good) but what is “ethical funeral care” and can I put my hand on my heart and say that we deliver it?

Funeral directors in the UK are currently unregulated, which means the industry does not have minimum standards or a code of conduct to work towards. There is also no requirement for those working in funeral care to belong to a trade body.  So, in my quest to find out what “ethical funeral care is”, I didn’t have a checklist to compare us to (which is a shame because I do love a good “gap analysis”).

So, after some contemplation I can share five principles that drive everything that we do, and which have led me to conclude that we are indeed an ethical funeral director (phew).

1) We never do anything that we would not be willing to discuss

Our benchmark is to never do anything that we would not be happy to share with a family we are supporting. This includes price, practice and limitations. By operating with compete transparency and integrity, we can have more meaningful conversations and make it easy for people to have the funeral they want.  This is also a very helpful key principle when faced with difficult and sensitive decisions or circumstances.

There are very few things that are not possible when arranging a funeral, although there are sometimes restrictions due to locations, budgets, timings and external factors. We always share every bit of practical information we can so that people can make informed choices. If there are things they would like to consider, we will gather all the facts and present them clearly.

2) We commit to creating a work environment where people can thrive

Our team members come from all walks of life, and we love to watch them grow in confidence with us, particularly if they have shifted from a very different career path. We want everyone to be their best selves, which means creating a positive space where they can feel they have a voice, to contribute ideas and ask for help.  I can testify that I spent a not insignificant amount of time “worrying at” this, and committed to being as inclusive, collaborative, open and kind as I can.

Being a funeral director is incredibly satisfying work, though we recognise it can also be emotionally tough. By giving our staff time to reflect and the support they need, they can develop the resilience to give others strength to navigate through bereavement. We want them to feel confident that their mental wellbeing is being cared for as well as their training and development.

3) We consider the planet in everything that we do

Our planet needs us to make the right choices, in everyday life and in business. We have proven our commitment to being the best we can be in terms of environmental impact and sustainability by becoming the first UK funeral director to achieve B Corp status. We now share the knowledge gained through the rigorous accreditation process to help other businesses succeed in their B Corp journey, by speaking at events and being proactive members of the Yorkshire B Local movement.

If you are interested in learning more about our B Corp journey, you may be interested in reading about becoming a B Corp funeral director.

The environment is taken into consideration in everything that we do and we measure everything that we can with a view to reducing out impact when possible.  Our enthusiasm to tackle the sticky “scope 3” problem resulted in us leading a crowdfunding campaign to fund independent research into the environmental impact of our supply chain.


5) We want to do the right thing and deliver the best possible care

Every family we support is unique and our priority is ensuring that their needs are met.  As everyone has different needs, we work to tailor our support and are flexible in style and tone.  This means that we don’t have packages and nothing is standardised – we don’t hold stock or have preferred providers as we believe this will ultimately compromise choice.  This means we need to have a larger team than other funeral directors of our size – but we believe that gives us the depth and breadth that people need and deserve.

Within funeral care, one of the ways we try to do the right thing is by leading and participating in research, which we know begins to provide an evidence base to inform future regulation, training and quality assurance for the industry.

We also collaborate with local businesses and third sector organisations to share learning and good practice in doing the right things as a business in Yorkshire.  Ethical businesses in all sectors face similar challenges about how to have the best possible impact, reduce their GHGe, strive for a more ethical supply chain and decide how to give what they can in the most impactful way.


What do you think?

A always, I would love to know what you think… are these the most important five principles?  have I missed anything?  Has reading this sparked a thought or suggestion about how we can have a bigger impact for people, planet or team?

And, watch this space – I hope to be able to share the community funded green funeral report by Planet Mark soon… I know it is going to be interesting, thought-provoking and a hope it helps contribute to a tipping-point towards a greener funeral sector!


Flowers can play an important role during the funeral. They can bring comfort after bereavement and be a beautiful way to remember someone who has died. Because of this, you might want to preserve the flowers once the service has concluded. There are a few ways that you can do this.

Pressed Flowers

Pressing the petals will allow you to make beautiful art from your funeral flowers. The good news is that this is very easy to do. In this case, you will need to carefully remove the petals from your flowers. Once you have done this, you will need to press them flat. This can be done by placing them into a book and closing the pages. You will often need to wait for a week for the petals to become flat. If you have a flower press, you can also use this piece of equipment.

Once you have done this, you can spray the flowers with hair spray. While this sounds a little unconventional, it will preserve the color for a few more months. If you want more tips about pressing flowers, check out this article.

After you have dried out your petals, you can turn them into a piece of art to remember the person that has died. For example, you might want to use a hot glue gun to stick them to a piece of paper. This can be marked with the name of the person that has died, the date they were born, and the date they died. Another option is to stick the flowers around a picture frame of the person that has died.

Creating Dried Flowers

If you want to create dried flowers, there are a few options that you can explore. One of the easiest options is to dry-hang them. In this case, you will need to bind the stems together. Then, tie a piece of string around them. Then, you will be able to hang them on a rod or a hanger. Then, you can leave them to air dry. This will often take between three to four weeks. It’s best to do this in a location that doesn’t have a lot of humidity.

Another option you can explore is oven-drying your flowers. In this case, you will need to choose a baking tray and cover it with a layer of sand. Place the flowers in the tray, covering them with sand. Then, place them into the oven, which should be set to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius). Often, it will take two hours for them to dry out, though it’s best to check on them after an hour. After doing this, you will need to wait for the flowers to cool down before you handle them.

A third option is to dry them out in the microwave. In this case, you will need to place a layer of silica at the base of the container. Then, you will need to put the flower on top and cover it with silica. Place a glass of water next to it in the microwave. Then, keep microwaving the flower in 30-second increments until the flower is dry.  You will need to leave it in the silica container for 24 hours. This article gives you more tips on how you can dry out your flowers.

Once you have finished drying out your funeral flowers, you should give them a thin coating of hair spray. This helps preserve the color of the flower. You can then display your bouquet of dried funeral flowers in a vase in your home. The color should last for several months before it starts to fade.

Wax Dipping

Finally, you might want to consider wax dipping your flowers. To do this, you will need to use some melted paraffin wax. This can either be melted in a saucepan or a slow cooker. It’s best to use a pot liner to make the clean-up process easier. Just remember that this type of wax is very flammable, so be careful when you are melting it down.

Once the wax is melted, take the pot off the heat and wait for it to cool. You should be able to stick your finger in without burning yourself. Furthermore, you shouldn’t notice the wax bubbling around the flower, or causing the flower to wilt when you dip it in. If this is happening, it’s a sign that the wax is too hot.

Once the wax is at the right temperature, you will need to dip the flower head into the wax. This is often easier if you trim the stem before you begin. You will need to dip the flower head twice. Then, wait for a few minutes while the wax hardens, preserving your flower. Once the wax is hard, you’ll need to repeat the process, dipping the stem. In the end, the whole flower should have a thin coating of wax. This will help your flowers retain their beauty for several months or years.


A bouquet of beautiful flowers can bring comfort during the funeral and help you remember someone important and unique. This list of funeral flowers can give some ideas for the type of flowers that can be used to create meaningful and personal arrangements. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of some ways to keep these flowers looking fresh for several months, so you can remember the funeral that you created as a final gift.


There are many ways to be creative when arranging a funeral. If you are arranging a funeral or would like to know more to support others, then read on.

What does creativity mean?

We believe that choice and creativity are two sides of the same coin.  While discussing this as a team, there are two metaphors which we have found helpful.  In our experience, creativity is often “sparked” or “inspired” by knowing the choices that are available – and then making a little tweak here and there.

Choice is being given a menu of delicious dishes to choose from, whereas creativity is being given a bag of ingredients and empowered to make a new dish which is completely unique to your taste.

To use another FCF team metaphor, choice is being given a list of options on a piece of paper and a pencil, to tick the choices that are best for you.

In the funeral arrangement process this difference might look like browsing a selection of existing options and choosing from these or using this knowledge and your experience to curate something a little different.

When does creativity happen?

We know that many people consider funeral choices in the weeks and monthly before someone dies and the arrangements and decisions continue until the funeral service or committal take place.  There are also choices and space for creativity after the funeral with the creation of post-funeral rituals.

Before someone dies, they may share with their family and friends what they would like for their funeral and these wishes are likely to create a framework for additional choices and opportunities to be creative.

From the first moment after someone has died, there are choices and whenever there is a choice, there is an opportunity to be creative within these choices.  If you are using the service is a funeral director, then you have choices about when someone is brought into their care and what the person who has died is wearing or has with them.  Throughout your meetings with the funeral director, they will share choices and give the opportunity for you to together expand these choices with as much, or as little, creativity as you like.

Making funeral decisions takes some time and deliberation and as the right choices become clearer to you, you may also find opportunity to adapt and “tweak” them a little – so they feel even more appropriate a fitting.  You may also find yourself taking inspiration from other events or experience you have had – a wedding or other celebration.

What can help?

Being creative within your funeral arrangements is not for everyone.  For some, it is an important way to participate and consolation – for others it would be an added and unwelcome pressure.  If you know what is possible – they you can do what is right for you.

The time leading up to a funeral is busy and can be quite daunting.  If there is a way to utilize the anyone who has offered their help then you might consider asking for them to support with daily tasks like bringing some food, sweeping the leaves or running some errands for you – people often want to help but don’t know where to start and delegating might mean you have a little more time to mull over your options.

You may be very much in touch with your creative side or (like me) sometimes find it a little elusive.  If so, you would reach out to some family or friends who you trust and who’s creative sparks you have appreciated in the past.  They could come to the florist with you or help you think about something that would accompany the flowers on the top of te coffin.


Some choices which may spark your creativity:

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What would you like people to wear to the funeral? Is there something specific that the person that had died would appreciate? What about a token item to wear, in addition to clothing? Some people like to wear a specific colour, a pin of something special, or incorporate a theme into the clothing to be worn by attendees.

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Food and drink

Are you thinking of including food or drink at the funeral or wake? Is there something special that you would like to serve? Did the person that has died have a favourite snack or tipple? Is there a special dish that is important to you as a family or group of friends?

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Sharing memories

Some people find that they would like for memories of the person to be shared during the funeral service or at the wake. This could look like particular people speaking during the service, memories being written on cards or in a book by attendees, or asking individuals to contribute their memories to a memory tree or other structure.

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Funeral favours

Would you like to give attendees a little something to remember the service? These small gifts could be anything from the person’s favourite sweet or favourite flower bulbs.

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Coffin choice

There are many different types of coffins to choose from, but did you know that many can be personalised? Cardboard coffins can be used as a canvas for drawings, paintings, and collage. Flowers can be attached to coffins and so they can form the base of a floral arrangement.

Everyone is different

There is no right or wrong way to approach arranging a funeral, and the important thing is that you make decisions that are right for you and the people that you care about. This might look like making entirely original choices, or it might look like curating options and choices to create an event that is right for you.


If you have enjoyed this blog, you might be interested in reading more about funeral choices. You can also read our previous blogs How to make a funeral more personal and What to wear to a funeral for further inspiration.

A lasting legacy

Full Circle Funerals have a long history of planting a tree for every individual that we support, and we can now offer a wider variety of options so that you can choose where you would like us to make our donation to.  We do this because it helps us have a positive impact on our beautiful planet – and it is part of the legacy of an important life.

We are delighted that we can now continue our work with Make It Wild by paying for a tree to be planted at Dowgill Grange Forest but have now also partnered with Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust (YDMT) to be able to support their wildflower meadow creation, wellbeing walks, trees in YDMT woodlands and their Youth Climate Action Fund.


If we have supported you to arrange a funeral:

For us to make the donation to the work that you value the most, please email us with your preference, or complete and return the postcard that you will have been sent by the funeral director who supported you.  Please note this does not currently apply to Full Circle Funerals Partners.

Restoring wildflower habitats and supporting pollinators (YDMT)  


Your Full Circle Funerals donation could help restore 35 square metres of species rich wildflower meadow and support YDMT’s ongoing work to restore meadows and engage communities in the Forest of Bowland and Yorkshire Dales.  

Traditionally managed, wildflower-rich hay meadows are a high priority habitat in the UK and an iconic feature of the Yorkshire Dales and adjoining parts of upland Northern England. Visually stunning and teeming with pollinators and other wildlife, they are a living and vibrant link to the past, rich in folklore and tradition, and an important part of our rural and cultural heritage. They are wonderful places for people to learn about and reconnect with nature.

Sadly, over the last 70 years or so, some 97% of Britain’s wildflower meadows have disappeared, largely due to agricultural intensification. Species-rich meadows and the pollinators they support are facing an uncertain future but, since 2006, YDMT has led efforts to counter their decline, working with farmers and other partners, through restoration and better management of meadows, verges and other wildflower areas.

Restoring the wide range of wildflowers to a degraded meadow can take several years, but YDMT have set 750 hectares on the road to recovery. They have also provided literally thousands of people with the opportunity to discover, celebrate and enjoy the meadows and the wildlife that depend on them, and the rural heritage associated with them.

YDMT launched the nationally recognised Hay Time meadow restoration project in the Yorkshire Dales in 2006 and during that time they also helped set up similar projects in Nidderdale AONB and the Forest of Bowland AONB. They have also set up related projects like Bee Together, which helps local communities and businesses to create and manage wildflower patches, providing crucial stepping-stones for wildlife to move from place to place.

Woodland wellbeing for young people (YDMT)


Your Full Circle donation could cover one hour of a woodland wellbeing session for a vulnerable young person as part of a 12-week programme, providing them with long-term support to reduce anxiety and stress, build confidence and a sense of community.  

It is estimated that three children in every classroom in the UK have a mental health condition. Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust recognises that there is a specific need for, and huge benefits to be gained from, longer term engagement. This is particularly true for young people experiencing disadvantage and those either struggling in mainstream education, at risk of being excluded or already having dropped out of the education system. These individuals have poorer life prospects accentuated by a lack of self-esteem and confidence, with incidences of anxiety and depression amongst young people reaching record levels.

Over the last year YDMT have delivered pilot Woodland Wellbeing projects with small groups of young people taking part in woodland-based activities. Sessions are designed to enhance wellbeing and support young people to develop a range of life skills. These sessions are largely young people led and responsive to the interests and needs of those taking part. Activities include: green woodworking, bushcraft, planting an orchard, creating a food garden and natural crafts. There was also time and space for more reflective practices such as mindfulness, swinging in hammocks, and fire lighting.

A recent participant said: “I look forward to Tuesday afternoons so much. I can be really stressed or anxious in the morning but I know when I get out here that I will feel calm. It’s hard to explain but I just feel free in my own skin. I really enjoy it and I’m really grateful for the chance to be out here.”


Tree planting for biodiversity and wellbeing in Nidderdale with Make it Wild 


Make it Wild is a Yorkshire based family business, set up with one purpose – to help Nature. They manage land on seven (soon to be nine) sites solely for nature, through rewilding, reforestation and habitat creation.

MiW started planting trees as a family project, with a woodland of 20,000 young saplings planted in 2011. After a few years, they saw the way they brought nature back to a previously barren landscape – the young woodland was alive with insects, birds and mammals. This is what inspired them to continue, and to set up Make it Wild.

They have pledged to plant 100,000 trees this decade as part of the Northern Forest and will soon plant their 60,000th tree. As well as their amazing impact on biodiversity, trees stabilize soil, reduce flooding, clean the air and give us the very oxygen we breathe.

They are delighted to invite others to enjoy their young woodlands, sit in the wildflower meadows, gaze at wildlife ponds and explore ancient woodlands. They know how important connection to nature is for mental health and wellbeing, and are pleased to invite local people to deepen their connection with Nature through activities including Natural Mindfulness Walks, Foraging sessions, Nature-based coaching and Therapy. They also offer mindful rural craft sessions to local mental health charities.


Trees paid for through your Full Circle Funerals donation will be planted either in Dowgill Grange, Summerbridge, or Dacre Woodlands, Dacre. They help to continue growing the woodlands, to support biodiversity and wellbeing.

Together for Trees – creating and connecting native woodlands (YDMT)


With your Full Circle donation YDMT could dedicate one new native broadleaf tree in a YDMT supporter woodland, helping to tackle climate change and nature loss here in the Yorkshire Dales. 

Planting trees is absolutely critical to help tackle climate change and nature loss. It’s even more important here in the Yorkshire Dales where woodland cover is just over 4% (the lowest of all our National Parks) – compared to the national average of about 9%. Diseases, poor management, and our increasing disconnection with nature, all place a significant threat on the valuable woodlands we have left.

Together for Trees is the YDMT campaign to create a landscape with more native broadleaf woodlands for people and wildlife.   Smaller scale woodland creation is normally underfunded and overlooked, but has immense value for people, landscape and wildlife. These woodlands will absorb carbon, connect habitats, improve water quality and reduce flooding, as well as providing beautiful spaces for people to enjoy.

People are at the very heart of all YDMT woodland schemes. They support communities to create their own woodlands, provide training for young people to get jobs in the sector and opportunities for everyone to get involved in tree planting and other woodland activities.  By bringing people together to plant the trees, YDMT help develop skills, improve well-being, and inspire people to care for them in future.

Youth Environmental Action Fund (YDMT)


A Full Circle donation towards YDMT’s Youth Environmental Action Fund could empower more young people to set up and deliver environmental projects that make a real difference in their local communities.

YDMT’s Youth Environmental Action Fund (YEAF) empowers and supports young people aged 11-24 to set up and deliver their own small scale environmental projects. Since its inception in 2017 the scheme has engaged more than 2,000 young people, supported 33 youth led projects and distributed a total £26,500 of grass roots funding.

The fund has supported a wide variety of inspiring projects including, 10 projects that help to increase biodiversity and enhance wildlife spaces, 5 recycling projects that save an estimated 162,769 kg of plastic waste going to landfill every year, art projects, an eco-festival, school eco club and sustainability group.

William, part of Bradleys Both Primary School’s YEAF funded ‘Wonderful Wildlife’ project, commented on his experience of creating wildlife habitats in his school grounds:

“This has been great. I really feel like I have done something worthwhile. I mean, I recycle at home and stuff but this, making actual new habitats for wildlife is amazing! I mean, wow! I really feel like I’m doing something to help the planet. And the best bit is that everyone else at school will get the benefit in the future”

If we have supported you to arrange a funeral then please let us know where you would like us to make a donation to.  You can let us know by email, telephone or by completing the postcard that you should have received from your funeral director.

If we haven’t supported you but you would like to find out more about how to set up similar donation programs at your work, school or college then get in touch and we would be delighted to share everything that we have learnt.



If you would like to understand more about or commitment to have a positive social and environmental impact, you might enjoy reading about our journey to becoming a certified B Corp.  To learn more about green and sustainable funerals, you can read our green funerals blog


Why it can be helpful to express your funeral wishes when you know you are reaching the end of your life

Learning that you have a life-limiting illness or terminal diagnosis requires many adjustments in the way you think, feel, and communicate with your friends and family. In time, one of the things you may start to think about is how you would like to be remembered and the kind of funeral you want.

We have helped many people in this situation to start thinking about their funeral choices and prepare themselves to talk to those closest to them about their wishes. The feedback we have had, both from the person who is expressing their wishes and those making the funeral arrangements, is that exploring and making funeral wishes is a positive experience for everyone involved.

Here are some of the reasons why people tell us they have found it helpful.

It allows them to talk more openly about what is happening

Some countries and cultures around the world feel much more comfortable talking about death than we tend to in the UK, where there is typically fear and avoidance around the topic.  Broaching the subject of your funeral wishes can overcome some of these barriers, trigger meaningful conversations and help those closest to you to overcome their own fears. People tell us that these conversations can feel liberating and create a closeness and understanding that would not otherwise have been possible.

It gives them time to consider what is possible

Almost anything is possible when you are arranging a funeral and there are very few rules that must be followed. When we talk to people about their wishes, we encourage them to think about the things that are important to them. By introducing elements that reflect their interests and personality, the whole occasion can become very unique. We believe it is important to give people the space to explore what they want and to guide them gently by letting them know what is possible. Sometimes the conversation can take a surprising and uplifting direction which might only happen with this time and space to explore.

It can be a gift to those making the arrangements

When we are supporting people to arrange a funeral, we are deeply aware of their desire to fulfil the wishes of the person who has died. If the person had a conversation with them before they died or left written wishes, it is almost like a gift to those making the arrangements. Fulfilling these wishes is very consoling and can help with the grief process.

It gives peace of mind

When you have made the big decisions yourself and have set out your funeral wishes, you have peace of mind that everything will be done as you would like. You are leaving nothing to chance. People tell us that they often feel a great sense of relief when all the decisions have been made and shared, either in writing or verbally.


There is time to plan

We understand how beneficial it can be for people to express their wishes and for others to know that they are doing things in the way they would want, and we offer free support to people who want to discuss their funeral wishes with us. There is no obligation to use us for the funeral.

We are here to provide information and gentle support to help people make the choices that are important to them. Our funeral specialists are sensitive and experienced. They will spend time supporting people to think about the type of funeral they want and the choices available, making it as easy as possible for them to create the funeral they want.

If you would like to talk to us about expressing your funeral wishes, please email [email protected] or call us. If you work in a sector where you support people who may benefit from expressing their funeral wishes, we have resources available. Please get in touch.


You may also be interested in reading about Mandy’s funeral wishes and how she found it helpful to explore what was possible.

Read our blog: How a funeral can be made more personal

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