Category: Funerals

Joy Fraser

Joy Fraser and the lovely silk shroud


One of the things we love so much about current funeral practices is the ability for famlies to have so much choice around almost every aspect of a funeral.  Here at State of Grace we offer a wide range of vessels for cremation, from the simple honesty of the cardboard coffin right through to our lovely David Trubridge pod, with many other choices in between.

We have been lucky enough to have the gorgeous silk shrouds designed by Miranda Brown and one of our familes recently created the most stunning farewell for their Mum using the shroud. Joy Fraser, whose Mum – Beryl – had died, organised most of the funeral herself and even acted as the celebrant at the service which was more of a family gathering, sharing stories and lovely memories with Beryl lying in state in her beautiful shroud.  Beryl had loved her garden, so Joy decided to create a garden around her. You can see from the photos (generously shared by Joy) that Beryl was indeed lying in a bed of flowers. We thought it ws so beautiful that it had to be shared and Joy was only too happy for us to tell you all about it in the hope that it may provide some inspiration.

Thank you Joy.


Back from beautiful Bali


Wow. We have had quite a month. Fran and I decided it was time for a break, so we left our families at home, convinced Rachel and Caro that yes they would be fine to run the business without us, and we headed off to the beautiful island of Bali.

Little did we know how perfect our timing was to be! It just so happened that we arrived during the week that mass cremations were happening, including a Royal cremation taking place from the palace in Ubud, where we were staying. The community was abuzz, with cremation preparations taking place in every nook and cranny. Hopefully I can atttach some pictures of the busy-ness that we witnessed – it was simply amazing. Three months work went into the cremation tower for the Royal cremation – a tower that was 30 metres high – and every inch was lovingly decorated by hand. The entire tower was carried on a bamboo platform carried by 100 men from the palace to the cemetery, over 1 km away. There the disinterred remains are placed into a huge replica bull, and burned. The ashes are later scattered at sea. Even the smaller villages had days and days of work going into their slightly  more modest cremations – each person being cremated still had the replica bull for their bones to be placed in. The remains are dug up from the grave by the family – the person could have been buried there anything up to five years before and waiting for an auspicious date, or for a time when the family could afford a cremation. The bones are carefully cleaned by family, then placed in a small dwelling awaiting the cremation.

It seems the entire island was engaged in some kind of cremation activity, so there was plenty of opportunity for us to stop and ask questions, take pictures, find out more and people were so generous with their time. When they found out that we were funeral directors, they without exception immediately exclaimed “Oh, good karma!”. Phew!

Aside from our cremation experiences in Bali, we had time for plenty of adventures, Most days we got up early, had some breakfast, put our backpacks on and headed off, exploring villages, rice paddies, countryside, talking to people and generally doing as we pleased. It was fabulous and we have come home with renewed energy for our work and for our families. Only now do we realise how tired we were before the trip. We have had funerals every day since our return, and everything seems to be so much more manageable.

We want to thank Rachel and Caro AGAIN for doing such a fantastic job of running State of Grace while we were gone, and coping with a very busy time with quite a few families to look after at once, Thank you, two wonderful women, we are lucky to have you.


The wonderful McCafferty quilt

We had the privilege of caring for William McCafferty recently, and were struck but the beautiful quilt lying across his coffin. The family very kindly allowed me to come and take some pictures. The quilt was made by Veronica Hampton, one of the family, who has created a real heirloom The quilt travels around the country as a comforter, and whoever needs it uses it for as long as they need to. It has spent some time in Christchurch where some of the family suffered through the earthquake, various places prior to that, and accompanied Bill on his final days at home.