FAQ

As modern and ethical funeral directors, we’re committed to working honestly and transparently.  If we haven't answered your question here, you can always call us on 020 3291 3426 or email us at funerals@poetic-endings.com  

What is Poetic Endings?

Poetic Endings is a modern, ethical and independent funeral service based in London.  We put together funerals of style and substance, relevance and meaning.  People contact us from far and wide to ask us to help with arranging a funeral.

We're not typical funeral directors; we provide the kind of funeral service we believe needs to exist, because we couldn't find it anywhere else.  

Poetic Endings is founded on the belief that a good funeral can be profound and transformational in helping to accept and acknowledge that someone has died. Facing death can be an overwhelming, traumatic and confusing time.  We want you to feel fully supported in all the decisions you have to make.

Who is behind Poetic Endings?

Poetic Endings was founded by Louise Winter.  She was dissatisfied with the funeral services currently on offer and believed that funerals can be done with kindness, thoughtfulness and flexibility.  She firmly believes that good funerals are incredibly important to our long-term wellbeing.

Louise worked as a funeral celebrant before training as a funeral director with a traditional funeral service in West London.  Her experiences led her to believe that Poetic Endings needs to exist.  As well as running Poetic Endings, she's also the director of Life. Death. Whatever. and was previously editor of the Good Funeral Guide.   Louise is writing a book, which will be published by Green Tree (Bloomsbury) in April 2020.

She runs Poetic Endings with the assistance of Joanna Shears, Clare Harriott and Annika Caswell and works in partnership with an extended team of enlightened funeral professionals with years of experience at Greens.

Someone has died.  Can you help me arrange their funeral?

Of course.  Please get in touch any time of the day or night and we can talk it through.

Where do you take care of the person who has died?

We work in partnership with Greens, who have brand new mortuary facilities in South East London (SE6 and BR1), where our team take gentle and sensitive care of the people in our care.

Can I see the person who has died?

Of course. We can facilitate this happening in a beautiful modern family room in Bromley, where you’ll be able to say goodbye in your own way. We can also facilitate spending time with the person who has died in other spaces - whether that’s a beautiful, light filled room in a grade two listed house on the river in West London (additional fee applies), or in a homely space in Nunhead with the guidance of our end-of-life specialist Anna Lyons (additional fee applies). We can also bring the person who has died home, if you’d prefer.

We believe that spending time with the person who has died in a beautiful environment can be a profound and transformative experience.

How do I arrange a funeral?

Louise has written a comprehensive guide to arranging a funeral which can be found here.

If you have any questions or would just like to find out whether we’re a good fit for you, you can call or email us, when you're ready.  We're here to guide you and support you every step of the way.

What happens when someone dies at home?

If someone dies at home, and their death is expected, you’ll need to notify their GP, who will be able to issue a certificate showing the medical cause of death.

After the person has died, you can spend time with them, if you want to do so.  You may want to play some music and light a candle.  You don’t have to call us straight away.  Whenever you’re ready, you can telephone us on 020 3291 3426 at any time of the day or night, 365 days a year and we will arrange to collect the person and bring them into our care.

When we arrive at the house, we’ll introduce ourselves to you and clearly explain everything that’s going to happen next. You can be as involved in the process as you feel comfortable. 

What kind of funeral can I have?

There are no rules. The funeral can be whatever you want and need it to be.

The funeral may be joyful, solemn, sad, relaxed or formal, depending on the circumstances.

Whether you're full of ideas or don't know where to start, get in touch and we can talk it through.

Do I have to hold a funeral in a church or a crematorium?

No, you can do whatever you want to do (within reason).  We work with venues in and around London to host funerals and wakes outside of traditional settings.  You may be surprised at what is possible, from restored chapels to art galleries, barns and museums.  You can even hold the funeral at home, or in your garden.

Is your service expensive?

No.  We believe that beautiful personalised funerals should be affordable for everyone. We pride ourselves on working transparently, so all of our services and prices are listed on our website.

We've created a new kind of funeral service.  We offer the essentials and then allow you to make the funeral your own by adding the extras you want.

This allows us to create simple, stylish and affordable funerals that cater to your individual needs.

Do you have any examples of families who have done it differently?

Funerals don't have to fit into the conventional format.  You can read about a natural burial where everyone wore white and no one said a word here.  The only sound was the singing of the birds and the rustling of the wind in the trees.  It was powerful, moving and very brave.

Our friend Jon Underwood died unexpectedly at the age of 44.  You can read about his inspiring and brave Buddhist funeral here.  

When Josh Edmonds died in an accident whilst travelling, his family decided they didn't want a traditional funeral.  This moving film tells the story of the healing power of creating a funeral ritual without using conventional funeral directors.

Can you help me plan my own funeral?

Find out more about planning your funeral here.

I'm a celebrant looking to work with a modern funeral director.  Can we talk?

Louise began her journey into the world of funerals as a celebrant.  Frustrated by the way most funeral directors operate, she launched Poetic Endings as a way of prioritising the funeral software (ceremony) over funeral hardware (coffins and cars).

If you share her philosophy and would like to offer a truly incredible and holistic funeral service to your clients, read more about how we work with celebrants here.

We are extremely selective about the celebrants we work with and won't consider anyone who works from templates.

I'm really interested in the work you're doing and I want to know more!

If you're intrigued by what you've read so far and would like to learn more, here are a few people worth checking out.

  • Take a look at the not-for-profit, independent guide to all things funeral related at the Good Funeral Guide, managed by Fran Hall.  The GFG is a small team who go above and beyond in their commitment to improve the world of funerals, and have had a big impact on forcing the industry to behave transparently.  They know where you can find good funeral directors so if Poetic Endings isn't the right funeral director for you, have a look at the GFG's list of recommended funeral directors.  

  • The Natural Death Centre has been helping people stay informed and empowered for 22 years.  The charity's three part handbook is fascinating and totally life-changing.  It opens up a world of options and is essential reading for anyone who works in the world of death and dying, or is just curious about how things can be done differently.

  • If you're struggling to pay for a funeral, call Fiona at Quaker Social Action's Down to Earth.  She'll help you to reduce the cost of a funeral, and access government support and charitable grants.  Don't let the cost of a funeral force you into debt.  Fiona's on hand to help.

  • Based in New York?  Please take a look at Amy Cunningham's new funeral service, Fitting Tribute Funerals in Brooklyn.  She runs a much needed service for people who want something inspired and inspiring.  We wouldn't hesitate to use her services for our own loved ones, if we were based in New York.

  • If you're curious about making preparations for the end of life, follow Anna Lyons on Twitter.  She's an end-of-life doula and art lecturer, and posts informative and interesting content on issues related to death and dying.