© Susan Greer 2019
© Susan Greer 2019
We don’t like talking about death, even though it’s an integral part of life. “Oh I don’t care, I’ll be dead.” If you have an opportunity to discuss end-of-life wishes, as awkward as the idea may sound, it can be comforting to you and your family.
Below are answers to questions typically raised about celebrant funerals. They might prompt the conversation.
Celebrations of life, memorials and funerals all mark a death and honour a life. Funerals are perceived to be more sombre and often take place at the same time as the committal of the body. Celebrations of life and memorials focus on the life lived. They tend to have fewer or no religious elements and can take place several weeks or even months following a death.
Creating a unique, personalized funeral takes creativity, care and time. Choose a professionally trained celebrant who will make a sincere effort to get to know you and others close to your loved one. They have to be willing to commit hours to get it perfect!
More than a chronological life story, a celebrant will dig deep to learn about their qualities, their impact on others, and the way in which they’d like to be remembered.
Consider what feels right and whether you have out-of-town family and friends who need time to make arrangements. Following the death, emotions are at their most raw. I think it’s beneficial to take time to absorb the loss before the ceremony. The passage of time may enable you to reflect not just on your grief but also on the joy your loved one’s life brought you.
The timing of the interment is flexible too. It can take place on the same day as the ceremony, with the same guests, or it can be scheduled before or after. It can include the same guests, or be a more intimate gathering.
You can work with a celebrant and still engage a funeral home. Tell them you have chosen a celebrant, or let the funeral director know you’d like a celebrant who will take the time to meet with you and create a personalized ceremony. Otherwise, the default is usually a formulaic ceremony.
People exposed to religion in their past sometimes draw comfort incorporating religious elements in a funeral. A celebrant doesn’t perform the role of an ordained religious officiant, but I can weave religious elements into a funeral. We can also explore cultural traditions that may enhance the ceremony.
There are lots of possibilities, and participation is not limited to speaking. Family and friends can be involved in many ways.
When someone dies without expressing their wishes, the family carries the weight of these decisions. When there isn’t a clear path, it’s my role to balance the needs of those closest to the deceased.
There’s nothing more comforting than sharing hugs and stories among friends, family, and colleagues. Sadly, during the COVID-19 outbreak, we can’t. That doesn’t mean we can’t create a different kind of ceremony. Please email or call me and we can chat about this more.
A celebrant funeral is designed to meet the wishes of each family.