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Got to the point in Justice For Laughing Boy where the family are being asked if they ‘would…prefer burial or cremation for Connor’.

‘He.  Can’t.  Be.  Incinerated.’

I’ve never been involved in making arrangements after someone has died an orderly, expected death. When they’ve gone out, full of years and without too much pain, having made their wishes known.  I don’t know what that’s like, although I’m sure it’s still intensely distressing.  What I do know, is that after an unexpected and violent death, being asked ‘burial or cremation?’ is like being whacked on the ear with a lump hammer.  Dizzying, numbing, nauseating, causing black spots in front of the eyes.

When the children’s Papa and I were making our wills, the solicitor suggested that we put in them which of the two options we would prefer.

‘It helps relatives afterwards,” he said.

I hope so.  But – heads-up, E and G – you get asked anyway.  Not that it was a hard decision for your Grandad’s funeral.

“Burial or cremation?”  All our previous family funerals had ended at the crem, where the coffins of my grandparents and aunt had disappeared, three-odd decades previously, behind brocade curtains.


We couldn’t possibly sit through a cremation. It would be like colluding in finishing off the job his illness started.