Our Journal

Frida’s fab farewell – Melbourne memorial

How to plan a modern funeral

When making plans following Frida’s death, her family were certain of one fact. They were not going to hold a traditional funeral in what they termed “an old-fashioned funeral home”.

Over and again, Frida was described by her family and friends as an inspiration. A lawyer, human rights activist and much-loved family matriarch, Frida was known as being both ‘ahead of her time’ and passionate in speaking out about injustice everywhere. With a lifetime serving her community and her family Frida was a role model to many.

As she approached her death, with typical fearlessness Frida began putting her affairs in order. Charities were recognised by her estate, and she decided that she wanted to be cremated, not buried. But even though she asked her family not to hold a funeral, her daughters came to the joint conclusion that some kind of celebration of life would be essential… if not for Frida, but for themselves.

As a family they knew they needed to come together, share their grief and say farewell. They also wanted to provide a space for Frida’s many admirers and colleagues to acknowledge her achievements.

The first thing Sonya, Frida’s daughter, told us when she called us at Tomorrow, was “Mum would have wanted to end up in a funeral parlour – over her dead body! She was more of a trailblazer than a traditionalist! She was a proud baby boomer! She was very modern really…”

Australia’s first memorial & cremation-only business

Tomorrow Funerals is Australia’s first funeral business dedicated exclusively to memorial style funerals, or ‘memorial events’ which is what we call them. As such, our simple, transparent package was the perfect solution for Frida’s family. Everything they needed was included in our single offering – a dignified cremation, plus a remarkable, bespoke memorial.

Frida’s cremation was arranged straight away and this felt like the right first step for her family. They did not like the idea of their Mum being held in storage whilst they planned the event. And it was perfectly in line with Frida’s own wishes too.

A celebration of ‘a life well lived’ does not need to be depressing. At Tomorrow Funerals, we approach planning a memorial by thinking about who the person was and how they lived.

When talking with Frida’s family, it became clear  they wanted the day to feel uplifting, rather than sad, despite their grief. The memorial needed to include tributes from those whose lives she touched – her youngest granddaughter read a story she’d written about her grandma. There were short speeches from representatives of different organisations where she had made a difference and a beautifully written ‘life story’ was presented by their celebrant, Kate Morgan.

delicious outdoor dining table set up

Importantly, the family decided to hold the event in the comfort of Frida’s beautiful home where they felt closest to her.

Sonya said this, “Having the day at Mum’s place was so perfect! It was the last time we would ever have people there to enjoy the family home. It was more of a party than a formal event and people just loved it. It really felt like the right way to remember her, and we could not be more thankful to Kate and the team at Tomorrow for showing us how this could be done.”

The afternoon began at 3pm and the formalities took around 40 minutes. Guests sat and stood around with a welcome drink, Frida’s favourite classical music was playing in the background. A wonderful tribute video was played on the TV throughout the day with photos and memories of Frida’s life scrolling… it was a relaxed and beautiful event on a perfect Melbourne Spring Day. 

After the speeches, a delicious grazing table, which guests had all contributed to was enjoyed. ‘Frida’s Fab Farewell’, as the family named it, was a perfect way to celebrate an amazing woman.

At Tomorrow, we believe more and more people wish to honour their loved one’s with really personal celebrations of life, as opposed to traditional, sombre funerals in depressing chapels. And when a family has such a wonderful experience, as Sonya’s did, we know we are doing important work.

“Tomorrow thought of every detail when it came to helping us after Mum passed away. Her ashes were hand delivered to us with a thoughtful gift. Kate had so many wonderful ideas to help create the perfect memorial afternoon. A few weeks later we received an amazing photo book which was the icing on the cake! We cannot thank the team enough.” Sonya Hosbrook

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