In the 1980s, Lily Maclaren-Smith was a volunteer welfare and social worker who supported people with HIV/AIDS in Surrey Hills, NSW.
It was a time when AIDS was a new epidemic. There was no treatment to combat the spread, few support resources and a lack of social awareness about the disease that we have today.
Lily was there for those who were suffering in silence. Helping these clients prepare for their end of life meant they didn’t have to feel alone in their journey. She even attended their funerals.
“I used to see them in hospital. They needed someone to talk to. I found I could make them laugh. It was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she said.
Her experiences gave Lily a view on death as simply another element of life. So, in making arrangements for her own end-of-life journey, Lily considers it’s just a part of planning ahead.
‘I didn’t want that to happen to me’
Now 58 years old and living in central Queensland, Lily admitted her friends don’t exactly share the same outlook on death. Some were a little shocked to learn she had already made plans for her own direct cremation. But having found great joy in helping her former clients prepare, Lily believes it’s always better to know what is going to happen next with end-of-life care than be left in the dark.
It wasn’t until more recently, when an extended family member passed away suddenly at just 52 years old, that Lily took action to plan for her future.
“She died of undiagnosed heart disease. The family didn’t have the money for a funeral, so they had to do a GoFundMe [online crowdfunding campaign],” Lily said.
“I knew, then and there, that I didn’t want to have that to happen to me . . . That’s not the way it should be.
“It prompted me to be prepared and get [a preplanned funeral] done. It’s something everyone should do.”
Lily wanted to take care of the funeral arrangements herself and retain her independence. But, being unemployed, affordability became an issue. Her problem was solved with the federal government’s $1,200 COVID-19 wage subsidy, which she used to cover most of her prepaid Bare Cremation, which cost $1,299 at the time. (Please note that prices differ depending on location and subject to increase over time).
“There’s no better time to do it as when you’ve got a handout,” she said. “Everyone should do it, so you’re prepared. I wanted to be independent.”
Lily said she has notified her niece, who is her Next of Kin, of her preplanned Bare Cremation plan, with a request for an ocean scattering send-off when the time comes.
Going your own way
To avoid the financial stress on your family later on, you can arrange a prepaid funeral through Bare Cremation, like Lily has done. And advising your executor or a close family member of your funeral preferences in your Will ensures you’ll ‘go your own way’ when the time comes.
To find out more, visit the Bare Cremation website here or call 1800 870 601.
Want to see what our cremation service will cost in your area? To get a free quote, visit the Bare Cremation website, or call 1800 319 568.