A Good Send-Off

contemp-heartDavid Parker writes . . .

Releasing SHAME is one of the purposes of Urban LIFECLASS Groupwork, shames we have created ourselves via habits, thoughts and behaviours, genetic family shames or shames thrust upon us by colleagues, friends, religions and society. We all know what they are. Carrying these around for decades is like carrying the weight of a dead body.

Breathwork releases those shames, family curses and negativity by nature of the technique, but the aftermath requires close examination, an autopsy of the core, surrounding dis-ease of self. It’s wise to honour the shames, owned, dropped and surpassed, by exchanging the past into PRIDE OF PROGRESS.

I managed to catch a rare site today, that reminded me of this and my working class roots, in the street where I live, on the edge of what is still called Somers Town. Detailed in Dickensian novels as the slum space between Kings Cross St Pancras and Euston Station, Somers Town is still the place that no-one knows where it is.

Ask friends – see what I mean. Surrounded by Eurostar, The British Library and upgraded social housing, a passing tradition remains for the few, the requirement for ‘a good send-off’ to evade the notion of shame, for in Victorian times, being in a workhouse and having a ‘paupers funeral’ was the embodiment of social failure. 

funeral_names_NANAIn mid 20th Century organisations like The Co-op, a food shop co-operative, created funeral plans that you paid for over long periods, including getting dividend stamps ( the ‘divi’ ) for purchases, operating as some loyalty cards do today, but on a more beneficial financial reward.

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This produced the ability for working class families to provide finances to bury their relatives in the style of the middle class and the 4 Plumed Horse-Carriage was the order of the day. In the North of England, The Co-Op provided a decent Wake and funeral tea, all paid for over the years. No shame there. The cry of ” we sent ‘im off with ‘am’ meant that a full Ham tea, after the dray horses had carried the coffin, meant the family had DONE THEM PROUD with damn good send-off – buried, fed and watered.

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In Somers Town today a Plumed Horse Funeral would set you back a minimum of 25 Grand but it’s still a tradition for families of elderly relatives, grown up in the area, with kids “done good” to pay for the lot, dividing costs around the family. Firstly, the horses carry an empty cortage from Leverton’s near KOKO down the road to St Mary’s Church Eversholt Street, where family and floral tributes await.

After the church service, the coffin is placed on board the carriage drenched with flowers, then driven around Somers Town, circulating one last time, for neighbours to pass respects, honouring working class roots, social mobility and A GOOD PROUD SEND OFF. Today, on the way back, I saw it in Camden High Street, en route for Finchley burial with a poster size pic of someone’s NANA, surrounded by white chrysanthemum’s strapped to the back followed by 6 family sized Leverton limos. People stopped in awe.

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But we don’t need others to feel PROUD for us – we can learn to do it ourselves -this is part of esteem building while we remain ALIVE. How to parent ourselves, how to own our assets without resorting to bragging and other ego based actions, dropping shames, fears and codependencies. Buying a small bunch of flowers for yourself is a great place to start this practice. Give it a Go.

LEVERTON’S in Eversholt Street also buried Diana, Princess Of Wales, which I always think of when passing by, and you can’t get Classier or a more noble ending.  The only way to LIVE is to face DEATH. Death of Shames. Death of Ego. Death of Time-Wasting. Death of FEAR – then rebirth into a new way of life and START LIVING.