Amy Sagar is dying to talk
Funeral director Amy Sagar (nee Porter) joined the funeral industry when she was 16 years old. Now 25, she works for Tender Funerals, one of Australia's first not-for-profit, community-based funeral services, based in Port Kembla, NSW. Amy is passionate about empowering people to become more involved in the funeral process. She is also keen for her mum to know just how much she loves her.
If you had a condition that you could not recover from, what would be important to you, towards the end of your life?
Two things. One would be appropriate pain management, so that I could be comfortable (I’m a major sook when it comes to pain).
Secondly, but most importantly, is love. I would want to be surrounded by the people I love.
The key thing I’ve taken away from working in funerals is how important it is to tell people that you love them. Life is too short to stay angry with family.
I’ve heard a lot of eulogies where people have expressed regret about an argument they had with the deceased, or not telling them often enough that they loved them. As a result, about five years ago I made a conscious effort to strengthen my relationship with my mum. As a teenager, I was embarrassed to say that I loved my mum publicly, but these days I’m proud to say how much I love her and the rest of my family. Mum, if you’re reading this, I think you’re great!
As you might expect, I’ve put a lot of thought into my funeral and I want it to be part of my legacy. I want my funeral to show to my friends and family that there is such thing is a good, and enjoyable funeral and that they don’t always have to be horrible dreaded experiences. My funeral will be healing, helpful, nostalgic, meaningful, beautiful, fun and interactive.
I want to give the people mourning my death an experience that they can carry with them and draw upon for the rest of their lives. It will be an example of how they can honour their lost loved ones in a way that can be a healthy experience in bereavement too.
I’d like a vigil, a home funeral or an outdoors funeral that involves family and friends in the care of my body and contributing to my funeral ceremony. It won’t be perfect which will make my guests feel more comfortable to be vulnerable. I want my funeral to leave people feeling empowered, accomplished and happy.
Are there any pets that you would like to see or be with you, if this is possible?
I don’t have any pets but who could go past a visit from a puppy. Puppy visits should be mandatory.
Would you prefer a quiet environment or do you prefer activity and chatter around you?
I believe in balance in life and in death; all good things in moderation. I would want both quiet times and also company, love and affection.
Would you like music to be playing?
I would want both music and quiet time. I often drive my hour-long commute home in complete silence to allow myself some time alone with my thoughts. Like most people, I have broad tastes in music which depend on my mood. But I think nearing the end of my life would be a very deep and reflective experience so relaxing, mediation music would probably be my preference. I get my best reflection and soul searching done to meditation music. I find it calming and soothing.
If possible, would it be important to you to have time outside?
Absolutely! Rain, sunshine, trees and shaded mossy areas with fern are key to life. Nature makes me feel like I’ve arrived home; it’s the best therapy out!
Would you prefer to be surrounded by lots of family and friends, or would you prefer one or two closest people to be with you?
I would prefer my nearest and dearest. I would need to feel absolutely comfortable with the people present so that I could stay raw and true to myself. I wouldn’t want to feel any pressure to change the way I was feeling for the sake of my company.
Are there any cultural or religious practices you would like to observe?
No specific cultural or religious practices but possibly some deep, possibly guided, soul searching.
Is there anyone particular you would like to see or talk to?
My husband. He is my rock. We got married recently. I would be so upset if we weren’t able to grow old together. I would want to spend as much time as I had left on earth with him as I could (said like a true newlywed, I know).
Is there anything else you can think of that you would like?
I would like internet access at my death bed. I am a result of my modern world and I would like to have the world at my fingertips, particularly if I am not so mobile. I could use it for entertainment, to consult Google on anything I get curious about, to reach out to specialists, or to make my last mark on social media.
What is on your bucket list of things you would like to do or achieve before you die?
My bucket list is ever-changing and I’m grateful to have ticked a few items off already. Remaining on my list is to start a family. I’ve looked forward to having children ever since I was a little girl.
How did you feel during the process of completing this form? Was there anything about the process that interested or surprised you?
I think it is a great exercise for anyone to do. Thinking about what is truly important helps us to lead a more meaningful life. Why wait until the end of your life to prioritise the things that are actually important to you? Why not lead a whole, balanced life with these things at the forefront?