Central Leader - - NEWS -

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.’’

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