Category: News


A beautifully written letter received from a loved one

To all of you dear ladies at State of Grace,

I want to say thank you. But thank you isn’t nearly enough of a word to express my gratitude towards you.

From that first phone call I knew that you would look after us, and our beautiful Sue. When you came in and said that Sue’s was a ‘good death’ the comfort you gave me in those words was enormous. I nursed Sue at home until she died, with a visit from a nurse at Mercy Hospice each day. I hoped that what I did made her final days as comfortable as possible and you reassured me of that.

The conversation the boys and I had later with Deborah encouraged us to run the funeral our way. In particular it was meaningful to us not to have a crowd around as when we buried Sue.

I had always observed funeral directors as people who quietly “oiled the machinery” and generally made the right things happen. I now know that you do so much more.

We immediately felt that each one of you was our friend. After Sue died the only thing I felt I could do for her was to give her a memorable funeral. You enabled me to do that.

A thousand thank you’s are not enough to express my gratitude to you.

With love,



Get your tissues out

This is a link to a series of gut-wrenchingly beautiful images, taken by the husband of this woman who had a terminal illness. Shot over a period of time, the photos draw us in so that we feel we walk a little of the journey with them.

This Guy’s Wife Got Cancer, So He Did Something Unforgettable. The Last 3 Photos Destroyed Me.


And another lovely song…..

You may be forgiven for thinking that we sit about steeped in sadness here at State of Grace, but really we don’t! Mainly we are in a state of deep gratitude – not just for the fact that we are alive and well, but for the fact that families are so trusting, allow us into their lives at such a sad and difficult time, are so courageous,so generous, allow us to get to know the person we are looking after by sharing their stories with us, cry and laugh freely – we are constantly amazed and humbled.

But on the rare occasion we do get into feeling sad, we do sometimes indulge ourselves in a little soulful music and this track by Lucinda Williams get us every time. Written for a friend of hers who committed suicide (which we deal with surprisingly frequently, and of late the suicides of people in their fifties and sixties…). Have a listen by clicking on the words at the top of the post.


Beautiful funeral music

We often hear music that succinctly and sadly expresses some of the pain and grief felt at the time of a death, but this one always gets us teary! (Skip the little ad at the start).

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.


Carbon offset your cremation!


Thanks to the good people at Carbon4Good, we are now able to offset the emissions from each cremation and so are further along the sustainability road! They have calculated several factors for each cremation, including use of the car to transport the coffin, the coffin itself and the energy used by the cremator. We will be able to have two trees planted for each cremation, starting this week. This offset will add a cost of $10 to each cremation. We are very excited about this development, as we move closer and closer to becoming a fully sustainable funeral compamy. We hope that other funeral companies follow our lead.

Consumption Tonnes CO2 Produced Explanation
Natural Gas 3.6GJ 0.194 1000kWh
= 3.6GJ and
3.6GJ of Natural Gas = 0.194
tonnes CO2  (ACE
Casket 0.025 kg of 0.031 MFE
emission factor for wood burned by industry is
wood 1.26 per kg so, 0.025 wood
makes 0.031 tonnes CO2
Human Remains 14kg of carbon 0.051324 In an 80 kg person, 14kg of
that is carbon.
Out of 80 kg Every 1000kg of carbon
converts to 3666kg of CO2.
Per person 1000kgC/3666kgCO2=14kgC/X
X= 51.324 kgCO2,  51.324kgCO2=.0051324tonnesCO2
Transport 1.776litres of 0.00355 16km/100km= .16,  11.1 litres*.16=1.776 litres,
petrol 1 litre
of petrol produces 0.002 tonnes of CO2.
0.00355tonnes of CO2.
Total 0.28 Sum of Nat. Gas, Casket,
Human Remains and Transport
Trees to plant 2 Number of CO2 in tonnes
divided by .15


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.