I found out about this club through a Loading Docs video, which you can check out. Never had I considered that they would now be a club that reaches a varied and large part of their community, dealing with the loss of stillborn babies, children, victims of crime and accidents, sudden deaths and friends and whanau wanting to be part of a final stage of a loved ones life by making their coffin a personal tribute. It was confronting, an eye opener, sad, beautiful, inspiring and reminded me that we are all connected to the beginning and the End.
Here's my chat with Katie - founder of The Kiwi Coffin Club, along with some pictures from our morning with them.
I've adopted them all as my friends and surrogate grandparents...who doesn't need more grandparents! A heartfelt Thank you to ALL at The Coffin Club for being so welcoming, inclusive and raw with your heart felt connection to what you are doing. xo EC
Katie said when the weathers good the courtyard/carpark area is usually full of people working on their creations. All sorts of artistic styles and ideas. Sunflowers with grandchildren's names in each. Elvis themed so she can lie with him forever! Race cars, boats, beach scene murals. There really are no boundaries.
Heading into the baby coffin room - I hadn't been expecting this part. It was emotionally challenging. Katie shared some amazing stories about the addition of baby coffins to the club. She has amazing memory for the families she has worked with and their journeys.
If it's one bit of worry and stress these guys can take away for a grieving family then that is what they do. They also work quite closely with the local hospital.
These guys have some great resources on funerals that are personal, inclusive and to suit a restricted budget. I love their welcoming morning teas, hugs on arrival, storytelling and connection to their community via a topic that many of us don't really want to talk about it. But whether it is aging, illness, the unexpected - at some point we are all confronted by loss and death.
These guys are about making it a little more affordable, a place where you can talk about it (or not), where even your wildest ideas can come to artistic life and you can inject plenty of your own personality into your final resting casket or have them do it for you.