of funerals over hundreds the years.
‘‘I always liked to go to the funeral so families know their child isn’t just another number. You care about them.
‘‘Because I’ve been to so many I know what makes a good funeral.
‘‘I also know what makes a terrible one.’’
By chance, the Ellerslie villa she chose to base her business in used to be a funeral home back in 1982. All she had to do was renew the resource consents.
She bought an old lefthand drive hearse to complete the picture and loves driving it around town.
The career change has been everything she hoped for.
‘‘I’ve had so many lovely times already. This place feels so homely. There’s tears and there’s laughter which is how it should be.
‘‘The whole philosophy is based on including families in the process however much they want to be.’’
Every funeral is tackled in a different way, Ms Mikkelsen says.
The company uses sustainable materials such as wicker or wood for caskets and avoids embalming where possible.
She has had relatives and friends of the deceased help dress and prepare the body for the funeral. Other families have made a day out of going to the viewing.
One woman asked Ms Mikkelsen to put a handkerchief up her husband’s sleeve in the casket because that was what he always wore.
Everybody goes through the grieving process in their own way, she says.
‘‘That’s one thing people worry about – that their ideas are a bit strange. I don’t think I’ve heard any that have been odd. Those little touches people remember about each individual.’’