It Tolls For Thee: A guide to celebrating and reclaiming the end of life (Paperback)
A funeral celebrant's story about how celebrating death, and creating personalised space for grief, can enrich lives and give meaning to death.
After a close encounter with death, Tom Morton realised he needed a change of pace and perspective. He decided to become the only independent funeral celebrant on the remote Shetland Islands, an unusual new profession that would lead him on an extraordinary journey into the world of the dead.
In a vivid narrative that reveals the fascinating realm of the unspoken - from extraordinary undertakers and death cafés, to pilgrimages and taboos - Tom quickly learns that death and speaking for the dead requires you to think on your feet and often take a magpie approach to faith and philosophy. From Humanism to hymns, Theravada Buddhism to Star Wars theology, he discovers the importance of ritual, humour, and the empowering act of trying to find words for something beyond language itself.
This is an accessible and thought-provoking guide to celebrating mortality. When grief must be an inevitable part of life, Tom shows how we can mourn together in a way that feels appropriate to the life of the one who has passed on, and ultimately cultivate a healthy attitude to our own eventual demise.
About the Author
Tom Morton is a Scottish writer, broadcaster, journalist, musician and funeral celebrant. He lives and works mainly in the Shetland Islands. Tom has written several books. His most recent publication, produced jointly with his son James, was Shetland: Cooking on the Edge of the World. He is currently hosting a weekly internet radio show called The Beatcroft Social. He blogs regularly about food, island life and music.
"This is an extraordinary and important book, both vitally topical and essentially timeless." - Stuart Maconie
"At the beginning, I’m happy to be drawn gently in, by about half way through, I’m starting to realise that, not only is this entertaining, but it’s important, and by the end I know it’s vital." - Tim Hayward