I've been working as a Funeral Celebrant for a while now and I can honestly say it's one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
I know some of my friends, don't really understand why I wanted to do this or why it's so important to me, they think it must be really depressing, but it isn't at all. For me, it's a real honour to help families who are going through something life changing and provide them with some form of comfort and to be there for them when they need me to help them pay tribute to their loved one for a final time.
So, I thought I'd explain what I do.
As a Funeral Celebrant, a family can ask to work with me directly, it might be that they know me, or have been to a funeral where I officiated and that's a real compliment to me. If this is the case, then feel free to contact me directly, once you've appointed a Funeral Director, we will then work together to make sure that everything goes smoothly.
Some Funeral Directors will contact me directly to work with a family if they have no preference about who they want to conduct the service.
I'll then make contact with you and we'll have a brief chat on the phone, I appreciate that when someone dies, there's a lot to take in and think about, but I always like to introduce myself so that you have my details and you can start to think about the type of service you'd like for your loved one.
We'll then arrange to talk a few days later, either in person or via Zoom / FaceTime so that I can find out a bit more about your loved one.
I'll always send you an e-mail confirming the appointment and with a few suggestions of things to think about, for example details of your loved ones childhood, career, things they liked, their hobbies, their achievements, special memories etc. It gives you an opportunity to have a think, make some notes, chat to other family members and friends about their memories.
If you want to include a poem or a reading, but aren't sure what you want, I can also send you some examples to have a look through.
On the day we meet up for a longer chat, I really want to know as much as you can tell me about your loved one and as we speak, I'll make notes, and ask you lots of questions and if you have photos you'd like to show me, then I'd love to see them.
We'll also discuss the tone of the service too, what music you'd like, if a family member / friend would like to do a reading and I can also talk you through the day itself and what to expect.
After our meeting, I'll put together the service and I will send you an initial copy of the eulogy, I always tell people, it's just a starting point and whatever changes you want to make, then we can. I want the eulogy to be just perfect.
On the day itself, I will be at the Crematorium before the service itself and I will check that everything is in place and I'll be waiting outside with the pallbearers when you arrive.
When we go inside, I'll conduct the service in accordance with your wishes and if a family member or friend is going to do a reading, but on the day feel overwhelmed then I'll be there to help out.
With some families, I speak to them on a regular basis throughout and that's fine, it means I can answer any questions they might have and I'm there if they're worrying about something, and I can help, then I will. Funeral Directors are also really great at settling any fears and pointing you in the right direction if you need help with things. Death is scary and confusing and no one expects you to have all the answers.
The reason I do this, is because I know, I know what it's like to lose someone you love and to know that the very last thing you can ever do for them is their funeral and you want it to be the very best it can be. The Celebrant that conducted my Mum and Dad's funerals did just that for me and my sister and now I want to be able to give people that same level of comfort.