What’s in a name? – Why ‘Dandelion Farewells’
One of the most challenging tasks on the original list of ‘things to do’, as I developed ideas and concepts for the new contemporary funeral business that I wanted to establish, was to decide on a company name. This was laboured over for weeks, involving much tea/wine/chat and frankly some really awful suggestions! Many traditional funeral businesses use their family name, but there was no history of funeral directors in my family, and let’s face it my married name didn’t lend itself well – Dandy Funerals??! Also, family names don’t really say anything about the ethos or concept of the company, so I wanted to choose something that I felt to be meaningful and personal.
Time and time again I came back to the image of the dandelion clock as the seeds are gently blown. Several myths and legends have developed about the significance of the dandelion: in Victorian flower language the dandelion symbolises love and was often woven into a wedding bouquet to represent good luck for a newly married couple; when dandelions appear in dreams, they are thought to represent happy reunions; historically they have also been a symbol of grief. And here’s my favourite: ‘When the seeds of the dandelion are blown it is said to carry thoughts, affections and dreams to a loved one’. This idea of a gentle, progressive ‘letting go’ and expressing wishes on parting is such a significant element of the funeral occasion and indeed the process of arranging a funeral. When someone we love has died, assimilating the loss and expressing grief is a journey over time toward acceptance of the change that has happened. Each seed could also represent a moment, an anniversary, a significant conversation, which enables a person to adjust to the new pattern for their life.
Dandelion Farewells seeks to take a little part of this journey with families, to help enable people to make personal choices that are right for them, to honour the person who has died and mark their departure. To enable people to truly to engage with the process of making informed choices about the care of the person who has died and their funeral ceremony, will contribute in a very valuable way to equipping them to feel that they have ‘done a good thing’ (as many people reflect on the funeral they have arranged) and to move forward in the days, weeks and months that lie ahead.
So, when I am asked to explain how ‘Dandelion Farewells’ was decided upon, I share the significance of the name, which I believe reflects the intentions and concerns at the heart of our business.