Laura Main - Musical memories of a loving daughter
Twenty-one-year-old Laura Main was about to start training as a nurse when she died suddenly while on holiday in Turkey with her mother Carol.
A victim of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome she was, in her mother’s words “full of the joys of Spring” when she simply went to sleep and failed to wake up.
For Carol, from Aberdeen, it was the second tragedy to strike the family, as her husband had passed away when Laura was just a toddler, leaving her to bring their only child up alone. The pair were very close, working together at a local children’s nursery which Laura had only recently left to begin nursing.
“Our attitude to life was that you never knew what was going to happen, death wasn’t a taboo subject for us,” said Carol. “Just a few days before we went away, Laura was listening to music on her phone. She asked if I remembered when she had sung the song at a music festival with her church youth group and won an award, and then she asked if I thought it was ‘too happy’ to have at a funeral.”
The song was The Lord Bless You and Keep You and is more traditionally used as a Christening blessing, but when Laura passed away just days later, Carol was determined that the happy memories it had brought back would play a role in her funeral.
“After Laura died, I was waiting in Turkey for family to come out to join me and I started thinking about what I needed to do for the funeral. I felt that song was her last wish and I needed to incorporate it somehow,” she said.
“When I got back, I had put all the information together for the funeral director, but I found choosing the coffin the most stressful thing I had to do. I wanted to celebrate Laura’s life, she young and beautiful and none of the coffins I looked at were right for her. The funeral director gave me the Colourful Coffins brochure and I knew that was what I wanted.
“Organising her funeral was the last thing I could do for her as her mum and I prayed to the Lord to give me strength to make the right decision.”
Carol liaised with both Gordon & Watson funeral directors in Aberdeen, who prepared Laura’s body for the funeral, and fellow Aberdeen funeral directors MacIntosh & Steven, who gave her the brochure.
Carol asked Colourful Coffins to reproduce the music and words from the tune onto the coffin. She chose a wooden background instead of white because she wanted to blend traditional and modern, ensuring that Laura’s faith and beliefs were sympathetically combined with her fresh and lively personality.
“When I saw the coffin I was absolutely stunned, it had been a huge decision to make, not only was it how I envisaged it, but it was much, much better,” said Carol. “At the funeral family and friends said it was gorgeous, someone even thought it had come from Turkey.
“I am so glad I did that for Laura, it made the day less scary and the feedback was amazing. It really helped put my mind at rest that I had done the best I could for her and the comments about her final resting place were of great comfort, especially from her peers as they were all emotional and younger, which is often more difficult.”
In the time since Laura’s death, Carol has been using her time to lobby MPs and raising awareness of the issues around cardiac risk in the young, including pushing for the introduction of routine testing which can help save lives.