Paying Last Respects - a Professional Perspective
Preparing to pay your last respects to a loved one is a difficult task at a time when you are struggling with grief, whether the loss was expected or sudden. As a professional and trained Funeral Celebrant, I specialise in conducting customised funeral and memorial services. I believe that funerals and memorials should be an enriching experience to help cope with loss and that by helping you say farewell, remember and celebrate the life that has passed, it will help you through the grief process. Marking the milestone of this transition is an important step.
Choosing a Celebrant
Most people don’t realise that you can contact a Funeral Celebrant directly. They head to the Funeral Director's and are guided by them. Often people are overwhelmed by grief when they need to do sort out the funeral service, or have never had to deal with this situation before. I am available to provide advice and to accompany the family to the Funeral Directors if requested. Funeral Directors may also refer clients to me.
There are now usually several celebrants to choose from in your area, as well as a variety of options available for services, whether at a crematorium or cemetery, at home or other venues. You can discuss some of those options with me, including types of services conducted before or after a private cremation. I am able to provide services at almost any venue.
Good or Bad Funerals - The Ceremony is the Key
Let's face it, a good or bad funeral is almost always determined by how the actual ceremony is conducted. It just makes sense to use a professional who has the skills to do everything possible to make the ceremony a remarkable and fitting tribute; who takes the time to get the facts right (and double-checks them); who listens to the wishes of the family and any instructions left by the deceased; and who truly tries to reflect the life of the person whose life is being celebrated, whether that life has been long and full, or to reflect the love and grief of a life cut short. As a Civil Celebrant, the ceremony I craft may be entirely secular or may include as much or little religious content as desired. Please see the link to the left for "Styles of Services" and "Eulogies"
Types of Services
Your wishes are paramount and I take pride in crafting a service that reflects the personality and celebrates the life of your loved one in the style that you wish. You may choose a totally secular service, semi-religious or religious. Please see the links opposite for specific types and styles of services. You may also look at the "Pre-Death Services" page.A lot of people are opting for a “no fuss” attitude for their funeral. Partly this is to minimise the costs. However, a funeral is the final opportunity to say goodbye to a loved one, an occasion for family and friends to come together to support one another and an important element of the grieving process. This can be especially important if there are unresolved feelings to deal with - guilt, anger, hurt.
Older generations miss the chance to say goodbye if there is no service, as it has been a traditional milestone during their lifetimes.
Pre-planning and Your Wishes
Even if you put your funeral wishes in a will, they are not legally binding. Therefore, it is important to decide in advance who you want to give instructions for your funeral – someone you can trust and is likely to be there at the time. If you are married, this person is usually your spouse; if you are both elderly, it may be one of your children. If you have a Funeral Celebrant, they can also keep notes of what your wishes are and communicate them to the funeral director and/or family members. I have a "My Choices" booklet (see link to the left) available for this purpose. Discussions can include some objective advice on options available. You may also look at the "Pre-Death Services" page.
Your family can then contact the Celebrant in the first instance and the Celebrant can assist them through the process with the Funeral Director, knowing your wishes will be considered in the decisions made. I am happy to assist with pre-planning and want to help you to be remembered in the sort of ceremony you would choose, to express your own personality and to comfort those you leave behind, as grandly or simply as you wish.
Years of Experience
As one of my clients, you receive the benefit of the years that I worked in Local and Coroner's Courts and as a Police Officer, where I had many occasions to deal with people suffering major grief and trauma. The training and real-life experience involved has helped give me a unique perspective in this sphere. Since 2009, I have now conducted numerous services, ranging from a combined Naming and Funeral for a stillborn child to a large, extended service with multiple branches of Emergency Services as they paid tribute to a colleague and friend.
Death and Grief - No longer Taboo Subjects?
Death and Funerals and Memorials are not subjects talked about easily in many parts of our society and lots of people don’t let their family and friends know what they want for their funeral. Many people feel uncomfortable dealing with death, and can’t even use the words “dead” or “died”. Instead “passed on”, “passed away”, “crossed over”, even “karked it” are used. Sometimes people make jokes as a way of coping with grief. Some cultures are more inclined to weep and wail, while others are stoic, keeping a "stiff upper lip" in public. That is absolutely normal and each person reacts differently. However, I am able to provide some resources for coping with grief or refer people to appropriate agencies for more specific assistance if you feel that the grief is overwhelming or out of proportion. Please see the link to the left for Grief and Trauma Counseling services.
Professionalism and Confidence in Your Celebrant
I belong to the Funeral Celebrants Association Australia (FCAA). Members of the FCAA are celebrants dedicated to delivering the best possible farewell to their clients' loved ones. Among other things, this dedication is based on a recognition of issues of social, cultural and moral significance, the importance of strong family relationships and dynamics, as well as a commitment to maintaining respect and dignity with professional conduct and practice, at all times. I am also a member of the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants (AFCC).
Unfortunately, we have all been to bad funerals and by choosing a Civil Celebrant who has had professional funeral training and is used to public speaking, you can make the difference between having a memorable and moving ceremony and one that is remembered for all the wrong reasons.
If you have an questions, please feel free to contact me to discuss arrangements for yourself or your loved one.