Befriending Death

When I was in Windsor I picked up a copy of Canon Dr James Woodward’s little book Befriending Death which I read on the plane home and finished yesterday. (Reading such a book on a plane is always good for preventing unwanted conversations.)

As readers may know, I am a great believer in preparing your own funeral. There are many people who have been on one of my sessions and gone home to discuss the finer points of funeral music with their loved ones. (So far I personally have about 10 funeral hymns so we’re going to be there for some time.) But there is nothing finer for a harrassed parish priest to find that the deceased gave their funeral some forethought and actually left instructions. This prevents the poor family (often unchurched) opting for All Things Bright and Beautiful because that’s the only hymn they know.

I can see that this book could be used in conjunction with my Funeral Prep evening and perhaps make a course for each chapter ends in discussion questions. The book is addressed to those who care for the sick and dying, those who are close to death themselves, and to others. As someone who has sat with those who are dying I found it invaluable. It was easy to read and the questions really stimulating.

There is lots of practical help too, including preparing your own funeral, and how to register a death, and organisations who can help. There is also an article on journaling and some prayers and readings too which may come in useful.

Highly recommended.


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