A ‘celebration of life’ is only the beginning of a grief journey, and not the end. Each ceremony should be memorable, meaningful and totally unique. At the end of that service I want you to feel that you truly recognised the person that you heard all about during our time together.
Dependant upon which crematorium or cemetery you choose, a service can last between 20 and 35 minutes. I firmly believe that every single word in that time – be it sung or said – should be meaningful. I don’t ‘fill’ my services with generic readings or phrases, and I certainly don’t use a pre-set format.
Instead, I listen to my families. I sit back, relax, open my heart to them and just listen. Everything they tell me is of importance. Every detail they share will be meaningful and memorable. Mostly the things they tell me are positive (but not always!). Everything they tell me helps me to build a picture of the person they have lost.
The first thing I tell my families is “There are no rules – Whatever you want – whatever the deceased may have wanted – we can achieve it together”.
As an independent celebrant I can include spiritual or religious content if you wish. Alternatively we can prepare a secular ceremony that purely ‘celebrates the life lived’.
Of course this will be a sad day for everyone – that is the cost of your love. But a funeral should also be a chance to reflect, recall and smile at all the wonderful memories you may have shared.
I feel truly privileged when a family is kind enough to share their personal stories with me. Sometimes they will smile whilst recounting their experiences and sometimes they will cry. It is only through their generosity of openness that I can create a totally bespoke funeral service.
Initially I interview families (by phone or via an online streaming service) to find out all the personal details that made your loved one so unique. Following our conversation I will prepare a draft service for you to approve or amend as needed. There are no limits to how many times we revisit this together.
If family or friends wish to deliver a Eulogy I can guide them through that process. Some of my families choose to prepare a Eulogy or else a letter to their loved ones and ask me to read it on their behalf.
I can help you to work through music options and timings and reading selections. Together we will discuss the practicalities of your chosen crematorium, such as whether curtains close or the catafalque lowers.
When you arrive at the crematorium / cemetery I will already be there to greet you. Of course following the funeral I will stay with you for a short while to offer emotional support and practical advice.
Before leaving I always present my families with a full printed copy of the service. Occassionally mourners are too emotionally wrought to remember everything that has been said, so they may appreciate this keep-sake.
Needless to say it is an enormous honour to be requested by families to support them through subsequent family losses and my ‘service’ becomes a friendship over the years.
Feel free to contact me if you would like to arrange a chat.