Funeral and Memorial
Preparing for the end of our lives, or of someone we love is the most courageous and auspicious responsibility we have. And we find ourselves, at the beginning of the 21st Century, ready to re-engage with our death rites. Ready to understand more of what is available to us and what it means for the person who has died and those whose lives continue, when we are creating a funeral. What choices do we really have ? and why are we making them ? are key questions many of my clients and their families are asking.
My practice as a Consultant and Celebrant, integrating end of life and after death care, is built on supporting you to have the information, resources and know how to be fully present and involved in creating the most reflective and authentic ceremony possible.
In the case of a sudden death, I and am commonly called as the first point of contact before you call the Funeral Directors.
For those of you who are caring for someone living with a potentially fatal illness, I encourage you to contact me as soon as you begin to think about the need to arrange a funeral. Beginning conversations about what happens after death, before the death occurs is the single greatest support you have available at what is a crucial and vulnerable time.
You will find that the more you know of what happens after the death occurs, the fuller and more comprehensively you can be engaged with making the funeral ceremony, and the processes leading up to and from it, the most transformative for you and your community.
The funeral ceremony is traditionally a rite of separation and re-incorporation that honors the ending of a life, for the person who has died, their family, friends and community. It is most often the family and friends who have the responsibility of carrying out this Rite of Passage which is firstly, to acknowledge that a separation has occured in the form of a death.. And secondly, to support in time, the re-incorporation and transformation of the relationships you all have with the person who has died. On a practical level, this means all key people involved coming together to meet and arrange the funeral in a way that supports all of you – to honour the dying and the living of your family member or friend in what you create for them and also in how you create it.
Knowing what their life and death gave to all who loved them takes time. so Most usually, this is done through recalling, recounting and re-telling the events, stories, facts and experiences of their life: from birth to death and all the living in between.
As the celebrant, I will work with you to facilitate this discussion as between all people involved. You may like to think who could and would be willing to speak to certain parts of your loved ones life and ask them to contribute.
We will choose music, and readings and compile images if you want. I will write a draft funeral and committal ceremony to be ready by key people, so that you are fully engaged in the authoring of the Eulogy. On the day, I can deliver a ‘broad brush stroke’ eulogy, of their life with other closer people, far more qualified than I, to speak more fully.
I can work with you to oversee all arrangements ensuring that your ceremony is exactly as you want and need it to be.
You do not have to have the primary ceremony in the chapel at the crematorium. It can be at home, in a park, a community hall etc. In fact, one of the key elements in performing the funeral ceremony is to have the ceremony in a place that was meaningful to the person in their life, to literally allow them to be honored, loved and mourned in a place that resonates with them and their life, to complete the circle of their life.
There is no imperative to perform the funeral ceremony too soon after the death has occurred. In the case of sudden deaths, more time between the death and the funeral is often very useful in allowing all of you who are literally reeling with shock to collect yourselves and to arrive as intact as possible to the funeral ceremony. The function of the ceremony is to build you a foundation from which your lives continue.
So take the time you need.
Creating and performing Funeral and Memorial Ceremonies are vitally important to ‘get right’; to take the necessary time and care in crafting a process and ceremony that will honor those whose lives have ended and the love we have for them. My services and fees page contains a guide to relevant financial investment.
if you are working with someone coming to the end of their life and you want information about how to support them to live at home, to continue to care for them after their death, to create a funeral or memorial or for ongoing Bereavement support, please see www.liferites.com for more comprehensive information.
Remember, this is your rite of passage and your time.
Be as prepared as possible so to honour those you love in a way that is real and authentic to who they are and to the love you have for them.