85-year-old decorates her own coffin
Wed, 17 Oct 2012 11:06p.m.
By Laura Frykberg
Death is something many of us prefer not to think about, but an 85-year-old Wairarapa woman isn't only embracing her inevitable exit, she's preparing to go out in style.
As a mother, grandmother and great grandmother Mary Wait wants her colourful life to continue beyond the grave.
“I thought I’d do a self-portrait on the front. Well, you have to have a good imagination to know it's a self-portrait.”
The retired nurse was inspired to buy and paint her own coffin after her late husband designed his own to save money.
Now her creation is showing at the Greytown arts festival this weekend.
Ms Wait’s daughter Carolyn Wait encouraged her mum to exhibit the coffin.
“The title of the arts festival was ‘the last piece’. I said ‘mum, this is a perfect opportunity to show off your last piece. I bet nobody's got a last piece like this’.”
When Carolyn first saw the coffin she wasn't surprised. She says her mother's always been a planner.
“She was just preparing for her next great adventure.”
Ms Wait says it was her son who used to sing Engelbert Humperdinck which inspired her to put the lyrics on her coffin and have it played at her funeral.
“He had such a good voice, you know, you couldn't help but love it.”
And though she's in no rush, when the time comes for her family to let Ms Wait go, she says she'll be ready.
“I'm 85, I've done everything I want to do. I've had the most wonderful life, a wonderful husband for 54 years, six beautiful children. What more could I ask for?”
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