Still reeling from the deaths of his parents, Greg Bruce attends a funeral directors' conference to talk to those who deal with grief daily.


Late on the conference's first afternoon, during the Organised Fun at the Christchurch Bowling Club, a casket-maker looked around the room and told me conspiratorially that she could point out all the people who'd had breakdowns - the implication being, I think, that there were a lot of them.

Everybody looked happy enough. They were laughing, joking, dressed in Hawaiian shirts for some reason. They were in teams, putting together remote-controlled cars.


The conference