Monday, 27 March 2017

Independen Celebrant: Making a connection

I am very lucky in that being an independent celebrant, I have a chance to get to know the families I work with.
Whilst this might be expected with marriage and naming ceremonies, it can be less so with some mainstream funerals.

I am able and willing to spend enough time to make sure that the wishes of the deceased and their families are carried out.
Anybody can choose to have an independent celebrant, even if there is a pre-paid funeral plan. Tell your funeral director your choice and they will be happy to follow your wishes.

I feel it vital that families can have the ceremony that suits them. This might be Atheist, Agnostic, Humanist, Spiritual, or a more traditional Religious ceremony. It is their feelings that matter and it is their choices that will result in the form the ceremony takes. I am happy and comfortable in following their wishes.

When a death occurs, the family and close friends are in shock. Their grief is strong and yet they have so much to do, so much to organise. A good funeral director can make all the difference and I work together with them to help things run smoothly.

The key is communication and yet more communication. I give my families my phone number and they know they can phone or text me at any time. If you are grieving, can't sleep and suddenly want to change an aspect of the ceremony, or have suddenly remembered the name of a poem, it is a comfort to be able to send a message immediately, even if it is the middle of the night.


When the funeral director first contacts me with the details, I will ring the family and arrange a meeting. This can be at my home or theirs and we try to get as many people gathered together as possible. This is a comfort and support and it is  also helpful to hear a variety of anecdotes and loving memories.

Mungo making me feel welcome at a family visit

We may sit together and talk and plan for two or three hours if necessary. I am honoured by the trust people have in me. They let me into their hearts and together we build up the story of a life, so that when the ceremony is completed, everyone will say " That was just right, that truly captured their personality and who they were"

I chose poems I feel will suit and read some out, we listen to music, we look at old photographs. There are tears, of course but you might be surprised how often there is laughter.

Happy memories

After the first meeting we are in constant contact by phone and email and I am always happy to meet again, especially if there is a family member who has had to travel and not been present at the first gathering.
I will help them plan the Order of Service, so the ceremony runs smoothly and naturally. Then I will write the Eulogy or work with the person who wishes to deliver it. If needs be, I am happy to coach someone who wants to read a poem but is nervous with public speaking. We are a team.
And the end of all this?
We will have created a ceremony that if uplifting and befits the person whose life we are celebrating. They were a wonderful, unique human being and they deserve to have their story told and their life celebrated.
Sometimes we are able to add an unexpected element to the funeral. There have been 70 purple helium balloons released at one, a motorcycle cortege, a Boxer dog as guard of honour at others. These wonderful gestures can lift the spirits of everyone present.

One of the motorcycle cortege
When people are loving and trusting and work together it is amazing what we can create.
Together we can celebrate the life of a lost loved one in a beautiful, unique ceremony that is a true thanksgiving for their life.

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