When Nothing Goes As Expected – What To Do?

“People have complained about it.”

“No – why?”

“They objected to the coffin in the window, apparently”.

I was amazed. “What? It never occurred to me it might be a problem”.

coffins-24-1024x685 I, along with my colleagues Kate Clark and Karen Collins had organised a pop-up event to acknowledge national Dying Awareness Week in an empty shop space in our local shopping centre. Preparing for it the week before, we had brought in one of Karen’s beautiful willow coffins, made locally. We’d put it slap bang in the middle of the window, thinking this would definitely intrigue people.


And it did.

Just not in the way we had hoped.

My heart sank; but it soon soared again as I saw the funny side.  Despite negotiations it became apparent that the landlord (who had asked us to move everything out of the unit) was not going to budge, and we couldn’t find another location.

I sent a further press release to the papers who had received the first one, outlining the event and the schedule of fascinating talks we had put together.

Suddenly, the phone was ringing with journalists on the other end. P&J

The cancellation of an event about death due to complaints about a coffin was too ironic for them to miss. So today, here we are on the second page of the Press and Journal (the Northern Scot also photographed us yesterday for their issue tomorrow) having raised awareness of the idea of death, with far more publicity than we would have managed otherwise!

And then taking down the display this morning, along with my banner done especially in a hurry for this event.  Honestly, you just have to laugh!  IMG_1365



So what DO you do when nothing goes as expected? Well, you say:

“Oh. Right. Okay, this means a change in plans. Let’s organise that and then look to see what we’ve learnt and what steps to take next.”

(Well, that’s the ideal scenario; sometimes there’s quite a lot of emotion that hangs around too, although the predominant feeling for us was one of laughter at the result of all our careful planning!)

However, all of this means there is no information available for the many people who were looking forward to the event.  And therefore putting it out there has become one of our next steps,

so here’s the list of the talks that would have been, and contact details:


Before I Go: Practical Questions to Ask and Answer Before You Die – (this was my talk – you can get the book here and still come to a local workshop here)

Speaking to Children/Creating Memories Jill Stewart, CLAN

Caring for a Body At Home After Death – Kate Clark, Pushing Up the Daisies

Green Burial – What’s Different?  Will Russell, Wilkies Wood Green Burial Site

Funerals Don’t Have to Be DullEve Baillie, interfaith minister

Coffins – Karen Collins, Naturally Useful

How to Save £2000 on Your Funeral – Kate Clark, Pushing up The Daisies

Do check any of these people out – ask questions, and make sure you stay on my mailing list  so you can hear about another similar event in the future.  We have not been put off 🙂


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7 Responses to When Nothing Goes As Expected – What To Do?

  1. Patty May 13, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    Absolutely brilliant ! As I like to say, “this or something better”- and you certainly got better with the publicity !! Where will you hold your talks ??

    • Jane Duncan Rogers May 13, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

      Thanks Patty! We will probably hold them in a community centre or something. Got to let a bit of time pass by and then come back to it all, something will no doubt present itself 🙂

  2. Wendy May 13, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    Good for you, busting open those taboo’s.

    • Jane Duncan Rogers May 19, 2016 at 7:21 pm #

      thanks Wendy. It’s so important I feel that we become more comfortable with something that is so fundamental to life.

  3. Violetta May 16, 2016 at 6:53 am #

    Good for you Jane. What do they always say? There is no bad publicity…

  4. Linda Miller May 23, 2016 at 8:19 pm #

    The willow coffin is beautiful – I think it would be especially touching for a baby or younger person’s death. Please keep up the good work!

    • Jane Duncan Rogers May 23, 2016 at 8:23 pm #

      Thanks Linda! Much appreciated.

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