Public grief

One of the biggest changes I’ve witnessed in my 65 years in the funeral industry, is how grief has become more public. Perhaps the first big change took place after the death of Princess Diana in 1997. There was such a public outpouring of grief that it changed everything. Then there was the awful death of Sarah Everard during the pandemic, which led people to break the regulations in order to express their grief and hurt. It has become an important part of our life together as a society to gather to share our grief.

It seems to me that it is a very good thing to share grief and the hurt that so often accompanies it. In fact, psychologists have shown that grief is dealt with more healthily when there are opportunities to share it with others.

Light a Candle

It’s one of the reasons that our Light a Candle events have become such an important part of our work in the Hunnaball Family Funeral Group.

Light a Candle events are special, annual services, hosted by our branches in their local areas. They usually take place in a local church, take the form of a service of memorial with readings, music, a little singing, and an encouraging talk. But they all involve an act of memory and thanksgiving when all of the people gathered light a candle in memory of those they have lost and place it on a table with all of the others. Then, whoever is leading the service reads out the names in a corporate act of remembrance.

Everyone is welcome, whether we conducted their funeral or not; to remember, give thanks, and light a candle.  The important thing is that we can share our grief together, show our care to one another, and gather to remember.

An event that has grown

Over the years, Light a Candle events have multiplied as we have opened new branches. They now take place across Essex and Suffolk at different times of year and have become an important part of the lives of lots of different people. It has become so important that, during the pandemic, when none of us could meet in person, we live-streamed the event from Colchester so everyone could join from their homes and continue to remember.

Things are now returning to normal, and our branches are organising in person Light a Candle events once again, and we are looking forward to them… as far as one can for events like this.

Details of our Light a Candle events as they are finalised can be found on our website, as well as on our social media channels and we know that every service will help grieving families and friends gather to remember together.

My wife and I attend some of these services too, as do many of the Hunnaball family, and we hope that you will join us if you can.