The story behind my business

When I decided to become a funeral celebrant I named my business Vivimento. This is in memory of my mother, Vivienne, who died in a car accident when she was 46.

My parents were both relatively young when they died and it has been hard work to make peace with their early deaths. My mum and dad were driven, generous and compassionate. They lived full, rich lives guided by equality, community and conviviality. Vivimento has grown from those principles.

My mother’s death was sudden and completely unexpected. She had none of the opportunities to make peace in the way that other people do, but she lived her last day being true to herself and to the values she held so strongly. The best way to explain what Vivimento means is to tell you something of that day.

The day that she died, my mum, a primary school and music teacher, took her school choir to a rehearsal of the region’s Combined Schools’ Choir. At that rehearsal, a teacher from another school suggested that during the choir’s performance not all the children should sing. They could be on stage, but they shouldn’t sing. My mother did not agree.

A little boy who was in Mum’s school choir sent us a card a few days after she died. He described the choir’s bus trip back to school. My mother said that everyone would sing.

He wrote: ‘Mrs. Crisp told us, Stick to your guns, kids.’

A few days after that, my dad, my brother and I went to watch the Combined Schools’ Choir perform.

And everybody sang.