Above all, each funeral ceremony is about the unique individual whose passing we are marking and whose life we are celebrating. What I design in close consultation with the deceased’s loved ones is respectful while celebrating this person and all the memories they leave.
The ceremony doesn’t have to be gloomy or morose; when the worst has happened I try to do something which is about saying goodbye, celebrating all that they were and beginning the process of healing. Sometimes people ask, ‘if you don’t have a faith, why have a funeral?’ I believe that it is all the more important for those who don’t have a matter of faith to come together in solidarity and show their feelings.
Human beings create ritual to mark every major event in their lives – we have given ownership of this up to others, so that rather than something we might just have done naturally, most of us don’t know how. I see it as a key part of my role to help people rebuild that. We don’t just do things because they are prescribed, but as a conscious choice.
A part of the way I conduct the ceremony is to guide people through it all, so that the very difficult experience of being at a grave or a crematorium is made as easy as possible for those concerned.
I seek to be inclusive – what I do also offers meaning and closure to those who do have a faith, so that all those who come together to remember the deceased have a chance to do so in whatever way feels right to them.
“Words are just not enough to thank you for C—-‘s funeral on Friday, I can’t tell you how many people have said to me how much they enjoyed the funeral! You have a special gift.”
“Thank you so much for conducting the life celebration gathering, we felt the whole occasion was conducted with great dignity and respect to C—- and kindness and warmth towards those who mourn him and miss him so much, we especially appreciate being given a copy of the whole proceedings to keep, this will be placed in a “memory” box we are preparing. Our grateful thanks for you part in making a dreadful day a little more bearable.”
I am writing to say ‘thank you’ on behalf of all family and friends who attended J——‘s funeral. We all found it to be both moving and uplifting and a fitting celebration of a life well lived! Your delivery was both respectful and humorous as well as appropriate and I would like to thank you again for doing such a grand job.
“I just wanted to pass on our sincere thanks for the service you gave for my Dad last Friday. So many people spoke to Mum and I about how lovely it had been and those that hadn’t known my Dad that well felt like they did by the end of the day. You set a lovely relaxed mood which made it easier for me to say my tribute and I was delighted that people applauded when Mum and I spoke. I have never been to a funeral before where people clapped the speakers but it felt absolutely appropriate that they did. This was very much due to the tone you set early on.”