Saying Goodbye is Hard, so I kept my Daughter’s Body at Home for 3 weeks

The mother Gilli Davidson, has her own way of saying goodbye to her daughter.

Niamh Storey Davidson, 9 year old girl was diagnosed with a Wilms tumor – a rare kidney cancer affecting children when she was six years old.

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Almost 3 years enduring treatment, but kept on relapsing. The family were told, she was terminally ill.

“The thought that she wouldn’t be here was unbearable, said Gill. She added” she died at home at 1:30 in the afternoon, with me and her dad”.

Niamh was taken care of by Arka Original Funerals – a Brighton company in the UK to re-personalize and de -industrialise death, dying and funerals. Headed by Funeral Director Cara Mair.


It was then, Cara Mair and colleague, Sarah Clarke-Kent picked Niamh up in a black plastic body bag zip her into. She was carried away on a stretcher with a pillow, cotton shroud, and a soft felt covering appliqued with large leaves.

Removing someone from their home is such a hard thing for families to witness” said Cara. “It is important to have something of beauty to wrap them in. A person may have died, but it’s still their shell, their vessel”.

Keeping the body at home this long is rare in the UK, but it is not illegal. Where this decision was being supported by many. “It’s not the same for everyone – this might freak some people out. But the choice to do it needs to be there, and the funeral profession needs to be comfortable with it”.

So much love poured to Niamh’s death especially to her family. It’s not only from her family but neighbors, friends and children with their pets. Niamh loved dogs.

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On the day of the funeral, her street was filled with neighbors, friends, children and their pets. “It was very moving how they stayed involved and in control of Niamh’s funeral, and it was a privileged to support them,” says Cara.

The balloons were released, and then everyone got into their cars and drove to the woodland burial site.

It really did feel right. The funeral’s only the start of saying goodbye, but it’s such an important start- it’s the beginning of moving on to the next chapter of life without that person. And if death isn’t dealt with in a good way, the bereavement gets stuck, and that affect your life and you children’s”.

This urge Gilli Davidson to make differently because of her experiences losing her 2 other children. Gilli was restricted in some other points to see her other children died way back then. Gilli then realized to make a difference for Niamh’s funeral.

And this happened for Niamh which is more fulfilling to her part, which she totally showed love and for her, it is the proper way of saying goodbye.


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