My mother Rose died a quiet and gentle death at 103 in her own room at Canberra Hospital, finally succumbing to pneumonia.

At that time there was very little alternative to the awful coffins provided by undertakers so I determined to make a personal but dignified statement about the way we enclose our bodies for the final rites – I think she would have approved of my final design for her.

I made the coffin a simple rectangular form out of MDF with simple finger joints at the corners and I painted her initials and her birth and death dates on the side.

The colour of course had to be rose which was very well matched by some of the roses which adorned the top of the coffin.

We had a simple ceremony at the funeral director’s room with a dozen of Rose’s friends and relatives and her ashes were scattered in the Rose Garden in front of Old Parliament House.