It Tolls For Thee: A Guide to Celebrating and Reclaiming the End of Life by Tom Morton

A funeral celebrant’s story about how celebrating death, and creating personalised space for grief, can enrich lives, and give meaning to death.


It Tolls For Thee by Tom Morton is an accessible and thought-provoking guide to celebrating mortality. After a close encounter with death, Tom 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, 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.

When grief must be an inevitable part of life, in It Tolls For Thee 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.

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